Jesus and the Harlem Shake

harlem shake

It seems like every 6 months or so there’s a new video on the internet that everyone’s watching.  Right now,  it’s the Harlem Shake.  There are thousands of different versions of the video, some of which have over 70 million views.  If you haven’t seen it yet, your kids definitely have.

Each of the Harlem Shake videos lasts about 30 seconds, and contains the same formula.  They begin with a group of people in a room acting very serious (or, what we usually call ‘normal’).  Then one person, out of nowhere, starts dancing.  They’re swinging their limbs (or sometimes thrusting their hips…I won’t get go in to too much detail about that), and yet everyone else goes about their same routine – completely ignoring their charismatic and spontaneous peer.  15 seconds later and BAM!, Everyone  is moving, shaking, gyrating, twisting, and jumping in their own way.  A room of complete joy and freedom and movement!  It’s pretty great.

They’re also a videos we all identify with.  Haven’t we all felt trapped by the rigidity of life?  Haven’t we been unaware of what’s happening around us because we’re blinded by routine, by work, by the past…afraid of change, of failure…of death?  As we celebrate this Easter season, we remember that Jesus’ resurrection is a sign of God’s insistence that the world is not a place where humanity is destined to be bound up and shackled.  Our story does not end in death and misery…our story ends with dancing.  Jesus may have been the first one to get up out of His grave, that first person in the room to start dancing while everyone else is frozen in their fear, but God tells us that in the end, Jesus won’t be the only one celebrating at the party. 

harlem shake 2

I wonder, in this season – what would it mean for us to start dancing?  What would it look like for us to live with freedom and spontaneity and a joy that gets us up out of our chairs and dancing with God? What would it mean for us to really come alive in Christ?  What would worship look and feel like if we were dancing and smiling and shaking for a God who promises that the final word is not death – but life? 


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