Posts Tagged ‘sacred dance’

2 SAMUEL 6:1-5, 12b-19

David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.David and all the people with him set out and went from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned on the cherubim. They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart with the ark of God; and Ahio went in front of the ark. David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.

So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; 13 and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.

16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.

17 They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. 18 When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, 19 and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes.

In his excitement David danced before the Ark of the Covenant “with all his might,” the text tells us. We are reminded of what Jesus said in response to the question about which commandment is the greatest of all (Mark 12:28). He replied that the greatest commandment is “to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all you strength.” There is no place for complacency in the religious life, where the full investment of one’s energy, attention, and devotion is the key that unlocks the door to life’s deepest meaning. In the words of the nineteenth-century philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach: “Only was is an object of passion, really is.”

Such energetic demonstrations as David’s frequently invite the suspicion and disdain of what another nineteenth-century thinker called religion’s “cultured despisers.” They are the ones who, like David’s wife Michal, look with distaste upon the ecstasies of the spirit. Worship in their opinion is all about propriety, decorum, and structured liturgies. To dance is to be too much in the body, too wild and out of control. Surely God cannot be honored by such displays! But in fact, God is honored and blessed by acts of worship that engage the distinct yet interrelated dimensions of our total being. When the body is essentially uninvolved, our experience of God becomes disembodied and artificially sanitized. God is glorified in creation, and in our full praise as creatures.

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