About as much as I love a rousing polka or an ice-cream headache, I thought. Then it dawned on me. We were staying within earshot of a place where they train wanna-be bagpipers. No wonder they allow only three of these colleges in the world. Probably tightly controlled by the United Nations. That evening, however, we found ourselves sitting in an audience at a Celtic Arts festival.

 

Fortunately it was put on by the teachers at the college, and was outstanding. Two hours of Celtic folk songs, river dances, drums, and fiddling made the occasional cat strangling tolerable.

 

At one point, while a three-piece band was at full throttle, the drummer broke rank and stepped to center stage. He put on the most amazing display of percussion I had ever witnessed. His hands became invisible for four or five minutes.

 

Then it happened. A little boy who looked to be about two or three got up from his seat on the second row and walked over to the stage. He stared up at the drummer with open-mouthed amazement, his Irish-red hair touching the back of a Kelly green T-shirt. As the music ascended, his little body could no longer hold it inside and began to percolate with excitement and then erupted in a highly original dance. What he lacked in rhythm was compensated for by style.

 

The little boy was oblivious to the crowd. He threw his head even further back and began to twirl in circles. He clapped his hands, stamped his feet, and became a scarecrow in the funnel of a tornado.

 

The drummer noticed the dancing boy and locked his eyes on him. The boy noticed being noticed, and an instant bond formed. It was as if the two were the only ones present.

 

The drummer began to play even faster—just for the boy. And the boy danced faster—just for the joy. In one spontaneous moment a thousand years of cultural history—previously lying dormant in a three-foot-tall body—suddenly awakened and rushed out.

 

And in that same moment, I realized what Jesus must have meant when he said all who truly discover the kingdom must do so as a small child. Yes, exactly as this dancing boy. To enter the kingdom is to recognize the cadence of our true culture and step away from where we have been seated. With the glorious freedom of a child, we abandon ourselves to its rhythms and become free from the opinions of others. To enter the kingdom is to become lost in a gaze at the one who is making the music, knowing that it is being played just for you.

 

Gary W. Moon is a psychologist and author. He serves as professor and Vice president for Spiritual Development at the Psychological Studies Institute and as a writer/editor for LifeSprings Resources.