Spiritual Gandy Dancers

For the last few days, I have thought of how disjointed the Church must appear to those who view our divided hearts and efforts.

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God is calling His Church to come together. He knows we have differences of opinion and in some cases, different assumptions about how to accomplish His will on Earth. None of these divisions have the power to derail us from our shared mission if we are willing to focus on the essentials of our faith and work in unison.

In the early days of rail travel, before specific machinery was developed for the task, a group of laborers worked the tracks with long steel poles to keep the rails straight and aligned. This work was critical because an out-of-line rail track could cause a derailment.  These workers were called Gandy Dancers.

Gandy Dancers would work to the beat of a song. A long line of Dancers worked in unison planting their long steel bars – a gandy –  into the gravel ballast beneath the wooden rail ties to create a fulcrum. The workers would then lean into their individual poles moving a misaligned rail back into its original place of alignment. As they pressed the weight of their body against the gandy bar they would let out a collective “huh” that became the lyric for the song of their work. This shared effort appeared to an onlooker like each man was dancing with his individual gandy bar. Their mutual effort realigned the track and made the rails safe for the passage of oncoming trains.

For the last few days, I have thought of how disjointed the Church must appear to those who view our divided hearts and efforts. To these onlookers, it can seem as though we have lost the ability to work together in unison for the greater good. Everyone is doing what seems right in their own eyes, but may not be what seems right to the Lord.

This is not a hopeless task. It simply requires humility to stand, shoulder to shoulder with each other, and allow the Lord to call out the song of the Spirit that will unify our efforts and make the track ready for what the Lord has in mind. This is not the time for soloists. The tracks are too heavy to be realigned without a combined effort.



This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins

Featured Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay 


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About the Author

Garris Elkins is a Kingdom Winds Contributor. He and his wife, Jan, serve the global Church through writing, speaking, and mentoring. They live in southern Oregon, tucked away in the foothills of the Rogue Valley. Their shared desire is to have each person learn how to hear the heart of God and become a transforming voice in their culture.