The echoes of a celebration of something new or a funeral often echo up and into my apartment. I would think that there is a difference, although if there is I confess that I have no idea what it is. In San Francisco, I was convinced that the creature represented in a celebration was a dragon. It looked like a dragon. One confusing signal was that it danced. Dancing and dragons do not seem to go together. In Singapore, the figure looks similar although I understand that it is lion dancing, bellowing, and moving to scare off any demons that might want to dominate the space the establishment occupies.
It is an amazing fun to watch the lion take on its adversaries. In music and movements, the dancers within are trying to make capture fear that should come in the hearts of the enemies when they realize who (what?) is protecting us. The ideal write-up would be David’s; “His nostrils flare, bellowing smoke; his mouth spits fire. Tongues of fire dart in and out;” (Psalm 18.8)
It images cause me to wonder about my view of Divinity. Is God on my side, protecting me from the demons that would haunt and torment me? If so, why are they afraid of God?
I rarely think of God as a lion-dragon. I do not imagine him warning his enemies, putting fear deep within them. I see God as kind and gentle. Divinity is patient, always looking for ways to help. I forget that there is a battle between good and evil. I lose sight of the reality of war, especially war where there is only one winner. God is compassionate. God is also a fierce warrior that hates losing! God plays fair. God also plays to win, unwilling to concede anything.
We live in the middle of a battle. Individuals die in this battle. Many are hurt, painfully so. It never seems to end. As bad as it is, it will get worse. I do not want to fight alone. I want a winning dragon on my side.