When I was in the 6th Form I was part of a really close foursome of friends. They would often come round to mine and one friend, in particular nicknamed Dodds, used to give me a load of stick for having a record collection that consisted of just one album! It was The Police’s Greatest Hits. Despite having a Buddhist Dad, Dodds was very interested in my Christian faith and he started coming to church with me. Being the school joker, he was incredibly well-liked and popular and he amazed everyone when having made a commitment to Christ he gave up smoking overnight without any cravings or relapses. It was a fantastic testimony to the power of God to heal and set free. Not long after though tragedy struck and he was killed in a car crash on holiday in Spain. We were all devastated and I had the painful task of breaking the news to other friends and teachers. My one consolation was that I knew he had a saving faith and I looked forward to a day when we would be reunited.
I was reminded of this afresh this week when I was asked to reflect on when it is I experience the spiritual in popular culture. I was able to think of quite a few examples such as the natural history programme ‘Earthflight’ and songs like ‘You’ve got the love’ made popular by Florence and the Machine. But I think I surprised my questioner but saying I also found watching ‘Strictly Coming Dancing’ a spiritual experience! And this is where I go back to my friend, Dodds. After he died, I was invited by his parents to choose something of his to remember him by. Because of his teasing, I chose an album. It was by Sting, the lead singer of The Police. The song I like best from this record, ‘They Dance Alone’, tells of the silent protests by the mothers, wives and daughters of Argentina whose loved ones disappeared under the reign of Pinochet and his military Junta. They campaign to find out what happened to their men folk and be able to mark where their bodies lie. The song’s repeated refrain is, “one day we’ll dance on their graves, one day we’ll sing their freedom, one day we’ll laugh in our joy”. They look forward to a day when they will celebrate the lives of their loved ones and they will dance.
I to look forward to a day when I will dance. Dance again with the friend I lost. Dance with my Saviour. To celebrate with every fibre of my being at the wedding of Jesus and His church! “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb”, it says in Revelation 19 verse 9. So whether I am moved to shake my booty by the exuberance of the Samba or the desire for intimacy in the closeness and tenderness of a waltz, ‘Strictly’ reminds me of the hope I have and reignites the desire to ensure no-one is excluded from the end of show party to end all parties!