Rope Dance


Meditations from the Classics

Rope Dance
Terence: Brothers 4:7 (160 B.C.)
1 Corinthians 3:5-9

There was, in ancient times, a Greek dance that traced its roots back to the Trojan War.  In the dance, one person would lead off drawing a rope after him.  The rest of the company would take hold of it as they danced until like one giant writhing serpent they were all moving with joyous unity.

Terence mentioned this in his play The Brothers.  In one act (4:7), a wedding is anticipated and this dance of the rope was to be a part of the celebration.

Everyone wasn’t happy about this.  One sour character named Demea, the father of the groom, thought there was already too much excess in this joyous occasion and now a rope dance too?  That’s too much, he told them.  He spoke out against it saying:

“Having hold of the rope, you will be dancing with them…Ah me!  Are you not ashamed of this?”  (Terence: Brothers 4:7).

Well, in spite of Demea’s stuffiness, the rope dance is a joyous portrait of teamwork.  It reminds us that laboring together for God can be a cohesive process of joy and love.  Isn’t that what Paul means when he talks about “laborers together with God”? (1 Cor. 3:9).  In a way, all God’s people should be holding the rope and with spiritual ecstasy rope dancing into the future as a team.

So try this:  Next time you get to church, bring a rope with you.  Get your deacon chairman to take one end.  Grab a few choir members and a couple of Sunday school teachers.  Point them to the rope.  Start weaving through the pews.  Urge the members to take hold.  Don’t leave the pastor out.  Ask him to grab the end.  Then just celebrate.  Do the rope dance and feel the power of unity.

David R.Denny  Ph.D.
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