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Faces on Faith: Will you join dance of life?

January 18, 2013
By Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan - Rector at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

An invitation to hear opera sung on the beach at twilight! Ahhh ... I so anticipated the evening. What an opportunity I remember thinking.

Arias from La Boheme, La Traviata, Tosca and so many others. I couldn't wait for that December night on a Captiva beach to happen.

Well, the evening came and Ralph and I found a seat on the light-festooned shore across from Tween Waters. A balmy breeze was blowing, my folding chair shifted just a bit in the sand, the surf rolled in calmly and regularly, gulls swooped and dove for late dinners, as the breezes began playing with the opera singer's long hair and glittering gown.

Article Photos

Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan

Just beyond the singers, basking in the warm glow of a setting sun and newly spoken vows, was a couple just married - capturing precious moments in a camera lens. In the far distance, a lone sailboat rose and fell gently as the captain took down his mainsail and prepared to come closer to shore. Then the exquisite strains of music began as the sun met the horizon and the two operatic voices began to offer songs of love to the heavens above.

I was not ready for the powerful feeling that enveloped me on that evening of arias. Although I've been moved by the God-given voices of singers before, and have felt spiritually invigorated by the sounds of a symphony, there was something extraordinary in hearing gifted voices in the very midst of creation and not in an opera hall.

Here we were in the sand, the surf, the sunset, the rolling sea, the wind, and the flames of fire lighting the shore. Refrains of Psalm 19 came back to me: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork. One day tells its tales to another, and one night imparts knowledge to another ... their sound has gone out into all lands, and their message to the ends of the world ... by them also is your servant enlightened."

The awesome scene before me was not a manmade stage, separated from us by wood and steel, but instead a great cosmic dance of human voices intertwined with water, sand, fire, the heavens above, and all of us on the shore. And all of it was pulling me, inviting me, beckoning me to join in the great dance of creation. Even a great sense of wellbeing consumed me as I was reminded of how I - and all of us - are vital participants in this great dance. And we, the humans, possess the incredible capacity to even reflect upon all of this!

As 2013 continues to beckon us forward, as we hold deeply in our hearts those people and things in the world that claim our attention, even as we try to explore ways in which to ensure a more peace-filled planet, be open to new ideas and people who may be beckoning you to dance a new step, take a new turn on the floor of life.

Be enlightened in emotional and spiritual ways this year and, as Lee Ann Womach's lyrics about faith and life and hope urge us: "When you have the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you will dance."

 
 

 

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