This past Sunday I celebrated the confirmation of 7 high schoolers. They spent the last 5 months praying through the Biblical story (this book is AWESOME), writing reflections on all 28 chapters of Matthew, engaging in an experiment in truth Scandrette style, and we did a bunch of sharing and singing along the way. I can’t say how rewarding it is to get to be a part of their journey.
One of the things we do is explore the symbolic meaning in our churches liturgy, rites, and songs. I was thoroughly amused when they decided to take this practice into the confirmation service during the children’s time by explaining to the congregation the theological brilliance of one of the children’s favorite songs...Every Move I Make (lyrics here).
Here’s what my budding theology nerd of a youth said…
There is no better way to learn something than to put it in to action. SO..the children are going to help us lead you in some action and by that I mean dancing and singing. But first I wanted to point out the brilliance of the song ‘every move I make’ and just what concepts you are putting in to practice as you participate. How many of you have asked the question, “How is God related to the world? Where is God? Who is God? How can one image God in the light of the scriptures and the scientific picturing of an emerging and evolving world?” I know…who hasn’t.
Any way, this catchy ditty is a panenthesitic think piece. It takes literally Paul’s affirmation when speaking to the philosophers in Athens that “God is where we live, move and have our being.” Panentheism insists that God is in the world but NOT to be equated with the world as in pantheism. All is IN God but not All is God. Likewise, the transcendence of the Creator God over God’s creation is not such that God is ever absent, distant, and requiring the rejection of creation’s integrity to act.
So as we sing “every move I make, I make in you, you make me move Jesus” We are evoking the prologue of John in which Jesus is identified as the Word of God – the creativity and logic of creation – in the flesh. It’s as if we are saying that the Word of God that brought creation into being, continues to create to this day, and was incarnate in Jesus, is in each movement and moment of our lives calling us to give flesh to God’s word of love. Wow…I know y’all would have caught that but it just gets me so excited.
Another Youth Chimes In... What do you make of all the ‘na na na’s’
That’s easy. We are often tempted in our lives to act in less than loving ways. In those moments of temptation just say “na! na! na! until the temptation passes
Now may you go and rock the motions with wild abandon!