Sometimes, as we see in the story of the Israelites under Pharaoh’s rule, our very existence can be an act of resistance. Here, the Israelites didn’t just live through oppression, they multiplied in spite of oppression.
I was honored to bear witness to a similar act of resistance in the life of Tina, a young woman who lived on the streets of Atlanta and was served by a local homeless shelter where I regularly volunteered. I often spent time with Tina and the other young adults as they washed their laundry.
One day, as we were waiting for Tina’s laundry to dry, one of my favorite songs came over the speakers, “Rise Up” by Andra Day. This song speaks of rising up again and again, and serves as quite the rallying cry on mornings when my coffee is not enough to get me moving.
As inspirational as the song is, Tina was unimpressed. She noticed that the next song in the music queue was a fun, light-hearted dance tune, and she cried, “Ooh, let’s skip this sad song. I don’t want to rise up. I just want to dance.”
I skipped to the next song and, as the dryer tumbled her clothes, she danced around the laundry room, shaking off every care that dared come near her. I stood in awe of Tina. Her life had been touched by nearly every imaginable kind of marginalization. Poverty had pushed her to the streets, and addiction, racism, transphobia, and a lack of education had kept her there. She lived in a place where many people would either look past her or pretend she didn’t exist. And yet, she danced.
How might you notice those who are overlooked and oppressed so that they, too, might find a reason to dance?
Beloved God, may we find such renewal in the rhythm of your sustaining love that we just want to dance. Amen.