The sermon for week July 13, 2015
Lord of the DanceSermon “Lord of the Dance” July 12, 2015
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19
When is the last time you danced? For some of us, it was last evening at the wedding reception of David & Karin Walker’s daughter, Kalin. Was the last time you danced at a wedding? Was the last time when you were dating? Were you one of the wall flowers always worried what others would say when they saw you on the dance floor?
Every Sunday morning, on the first hymn, as soon as Sally plays a note on the organ, several little ones step out into the aisle and dance and twirl throughout the whole dance. It is a spirited dance. Their whole bodies and spirits are poured into the dance. Irenaeus, a 4th century church leader, is quoted as saying, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” During that first hymn, these little ones are truly fully alive. When is the last time you felt fully alive? If Irenaeus is correct, God’s dream for us is that we wake from our slumber to live life to its fullest. God’s dream for us is that we let go of whatever it is that is keeping us from truly living.
Let us consider the texts for this day to find clues how we may experience a greater fullness in this life. In 2 Samuel, keys are in:
1) The Dance of David
2) Michal’s response
3) Serving food to all
Let us consider the dance. We read in 2 Samuel of David’s dance as the people brought the ark of the covenant into the tent of worship. It is a dance that gets several comments in this text. The story tells that David danced with all of his might. It repeats it if you missed it the first time. This is a celebration, a rousing and spirited dance. David is dancing for his God. When is the last time you danced for God? I suspect few of us have truly danced a full body dance with all of our might before God.
I cannot say that I have ever done a full body dance for God. My reserved German upbringing still controls my sensibilities. I cannot even raise a hand in worship without being self-conscious. About the only time I am full in is when I am singing, but even then I tend to keep my body movement pretty reserved. How about you?
Wouldn’t it be something if we could all be free to truly experience what God has in store for us. Music is one way that God breaks through our barriers. Historically Psalm 24 is one of those pieces of music that has been used to break down those barriers that keep us from expressing our joy of living. Psalm 24 is a coronation hymn. It was used when kings were welcomed into the city of Jerusalem. Vs 3. “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?” That hill is the hill on which the city of Jerusalem stood. “Who shall stand in the holy place?” That is a reference to the temple. Then in verses 7-10, we find a chorus of questions and answers, “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty!”
This would have been used for the kings like David and those that came after him. Handel, the great composer of the Messiah, took this Psalm and created one of the more spirited compositions of that great work. I once had a director teach us to sing that piece in a style of a dance for that is how he said it was written, fast and lively with a bounce. He had us get our bodies as well as our voices involved in the singing of “Lift up Your Heads.” Handel’s writing it as a dance is no accident. David danced with all of his might when he was in God’s presence. I wonder what it would look like if we were willing to “dance” with all of our might when in God’s presence? Unlike in David’s time where they thought God was only on that holy hill, we now know that God is everywhere. God is there when we wake in the morning.
Did you greet God with joy when you woke up. God is there when we break bread at the table. Was there Thanksgiving and joy at your table this morning? Will there be at noon time?
Which bring me to the 2nd point in this story, and that is Michal’s response to David’s dance. The story goes that she saw David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. Clearly from an historical perspective the writer is making it clear that Saul’s power is now gone as represented by Michal’s response to the celebration. She is clearly not a part of the future story. But more importantly, she missed out on a great opportunity to be a “human fully alive.” She was held back by her past from experiencing God in a new way. How often are we held back from experiencing God in a new way. Some time ago while leading worship, we were in the middle of a song a I noticed that there was a person with hand raised enjoying God’s presence. Right behind this person was another that was poking at a friend and pointing at this person. I could tell by the whispering and facial expression that their comments had little to do with enjoying God’s presence. I was saddened that these two who were missing out on a wonderful opportunity to experience God, for truly God was present but they were acting like Michal and missing God entirely because their thoughts were some place else.
And finally, I find it very interesting that 2 Samuel begins as a coronation but does not end until it notes a great feast was held for all people. What is most notable in this sotry is that as it begins, it notes that 30,000 men are gathered for the celebration. But when it comes to the feeding time, this time it notes that both men and women are fed. Seldom does the scripture tradition take the time to include women in the story. When it does it is worthy of note for it very likely means something special is happening. And something is. For we are finding out with this new king David, that all are included without exception. When Jesus arrived on the scene he extended that welcome to all of the outcasts in his day. In the early years of the church, that welcome was extended to the Gentiles. Thanks be to God we as a church are continuing this tradition of extending that welcome to all of those people whom society as historically labeled as second class citizens. The celebration could not conclude until it was wrapped up with service for others.
William Coffin writes, “Is there any greed greater than the spiritual greed to save one’s own private soul.” This dance is not for David’s sake, this dance is for all people.