If you have a problem, why broadcast it to over ten million people? Good question.

I was back in the Chris Evans studio at BBC Radio 2 to do Pause for Thought this morning after a six month break while I settled in to Bradford. I’ve missed it – not because I’m a groupie, but because (a) it is unfailingly enjoyable and (b) it’s an interesting challenge to write and deliver scripts that work in that environment. Chris and his team were very friendly and welcoming despite the pressures of running an auction for Children in Need.

In this morning’s script I wanted to connect to today’s ‘Dine and Disco’ theme. Basically, I can do the ‘dine’ bit, but the ‘disco’ gives me the wobblies. Some people can dance, some can’t. I try, but I’m hopeless. Unfortunately, at the end of the slot Chris asked me to show him how I dance. He stopped me pretty quickly. Now he knows… (Radio is always better than telly for activities such as this.)

I referred back to the two gigs I got to last week: Imelda May at York and Jools Holland in Bradford. Both were fantastic, but you can’t sit still to either of them. Rockabilly, rhythm and blues, boogie woogie – even I had to get up and … er … dance … sort of. Fortunately, it was dark…

But, one of my favourite Imelda May songs ( which she did in York) is Proud and Humble. I think it’s really a prayer in which, with her extraordinary voice and cracking band, she wrestles with the attempt to live right while also trying to make life happen for herself. Addressing herself to God, she recognises where she fouls it all up, but pleads that at least she’s trying to get the most out of the life God has given her in the world which he created and loves.

And my point in this morning’s script is that I think this hits the button. We all need to own up to our failures, but not fail to celebrate the good stuff. We need both.

I think this is why the two gigs last weekend were full of joy. (I tried to find a less cheesy word than joy, but I couldn’t.) Even songs about loss and longing made the audiences dance – perhaps because somewhere in us there is a deep recognition that, as Bruce Cockburn once sang, ‘joy will find a way’. It comes when we know we’ve got nothing to fear – because the God who made us still knows us, beckons us, loves us, still holds open the possibility of a new start.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: music hits the soul and demands a response. I concluded my script with the following profound observation: Several thousand years ago a Psalmist wrote: “You turned my grieving into dancing.” Many of us know the feeling. Even though, I fear, my dancing would have made him grieve.

And that’s when Chris asked me to demonstrate. And then played Genesis’ I can’t dance. Very funny. And very accurate. How sad is that?

(Chris also clearly knows Bradford and bigged it up. Good to hear such positive stuff about the place.)

Martin Luther probably wasn’t the funniest man to be around and he is not the sort of ex-monk you’d think of as a dancer. But, maybe we have got our impressions wrong.

I was waiting for a friend by the Marktkirche, bang in the centre of Hannover, when I had a good look at the statue of Luther outside the church. From the front he looks like he is preaching. From either side he looks like he is doing Scottish country dancing. Look at the photos below:

See what I mean? Now, this got me to wondering what preaching and dancing have in common. I didn’t get very far. But I did begin to think that preaching is a waste of time if no communication is actually happening. And if communication is happening, then there is a dance of ideas, of emotion, of thinking and reflection going on – not just a statement of (what the preacher thinks are) ‘truths’.

Good preaching ought to be engaging and dialectic – just like a dance where either (a) the dancers are dependent on and relate to each other, or (b) the dancer engages the audience in a movement of ideas, emotion or thought.

After staring for a while at Luther’s statue I went with friends to the Lange Nacht der Kirchen (the Long Night of the Churches). Every church in Hannover was open – many until the early hours – and they put on a programme of amazingly lively and creative events.

We began in the Marktkirche with an amazing organ recital, a brief lecture about the 15th century reredos (the thing behind the altar) and then a dance. I dreaded this – thinking it might be a liturgical embarrassment. It turned out to be a professional male dancer who did stuff suspended from two white sheets which were themselves suspended from the high ceiling of the church. It was beautiful, arresting, moving and dead scary: I was terrified he would fall and the long night of the churches would become the long drop of the dancer.

We went from there to another church where there was a mix of hip-hop and some Japanese-influenced dancing (don’t ask – I didn’t really understand it). Then to another church where the local Bundesliga football team (Hannover 69) were involved in interviews interspersed with excellent classical guitar. Ouside there was beer and sausages. Then the evening continued with a superb band (with a great trumpeter).

This was the church opening itself to joyful and celebrating culture, being unembarrassed about the place of religion in popular culture, running a menu of creative events that were simply a gift of the churches to allcomers.

I’m a terrible dancer. But even I wanted to dance. It began with Luther by the Marktkirche and I won’t be able to see him or read him again without thinking of him in a kilt.