When ever I think of simplicity, I think of a delightful song which was written by the Shakers. Simple Gifts is a Dancing Song or a Quick Dance. In fact the word turning in the last two lines is a dance instruction embedded right in the lyrics.It is hard to believe that this ever popular song was first written in the 1700s
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right
Think about it for a moment. The Shakers danced during church services. Yes they started out in proper lines as was the custom in proper society’s ball rooms but this was not stiff, stilted dancing. The Shakers dancing evolved into an expression of ecstatic joy. When you have humbly embraced simplicity, you can dance in complete abandonment.
Can you imagine how these Shakers shocked the rest of society?
I can hardly fathom how this sect even existed. The only answer for me is that people were so staid and frozen in fear as a result of the Puritans and the witch burnings, that God had to physically shake off fear and self-righteous piety off His people.
Somehow these 18th century men and women managed to literally shake off chains and embrace simplicity with humility and they discovered joy.