There are many forms of worship that have been used to worship God over the years. Some ways have been perfected over time while others have not been used as much. I remember watching the movie “Aviator” and the people went under the tree to worship and it was fine. One way of worshipping God has been through dancing. Many cultures over the years have used dancing and other methods as forms of expression of their connection or devotion to their creator. Prayer, singing, and meditation are some of the ways people use to praise and honor God. Therefore, it is important that we remind ourselves that dancing for the Lord is an acceptable practice done often in our mainline churches.
In our story we meet David who was so excited by the aspect that the Ark of God was being moved from someone’s house to the place (David City) which was built for it so that God could bless the whole community. David knew what the Ark of God represented because it was given at the time of Moses. It was always believed that where the Ark of God was, God was there. From our story we understand that the two homes where the Ark of God was kept became blessed. When the Philistines took it, they suffered so much that they had to give it back. David’s aim of bringing the Ark of God to David’s town was so that everybody would be blessed rather than just one family where the Ark stayed. In our story today, we can draw the following faith lessons:
1. Dance for the Ark of God is among us: David knew the history of the Ark of God for it was added in their Israelite lives as a physical and visual thing that reminded them that God was with them. The Ark became a continual reminder of God’s people and his faithfulness to us. When the Philistines took the Ark, they were very heavily punished and they had to ask the Israelites to take it back. When we come before our God we come with humility along with joy. We come to sing the psalms of faithfulness that David shared with us. We come to celebrate the presence of God. Like David, we have to come to that moment of realizing that gathering in God’s house is one place that we are called to express our joy, our appreciation and gratitude to our living God who is among us. We come to celebrate the presence of God among us. His presence means victory. There is victory in Jesus’ name.
2. Dance as a way of worship: As we come to God on a Sunday morning or any other time, the center piece of the gathering is to worship God. In worshipping God, we use different methods: a) Prayer: This is an important element that we often take for granted. Every word of prayer offered to God falls on an ear ready to listen and to a God who understands you. Prayers can be of thanksgiving, praise, petition, repentance and the list goes on; b)Meditation: This might involve silent prayer, a reflection on a passage or just being silent and listening to God speak; c)Reading Scriptures: This is another form of worshipping God. When we read God’s word we are brought closer to understanding what he requires of us. The word of God is like a light or lamp unto our feet. Paul, in Ephesians 6:17, reminds us that the word of God is the sword that we use to fight our enemies; d)Singing/Dancing: The songs we sing and the dances we preform are the outward expression of our connection with God. It was John Wesley who instructed the early Methodists on how to sing. “Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you san the songs of Satan.” (Red Methodist Hymnal vii). This reminds me of how I see people dancing on a high level out while in their car but when they come to church they find it hard to do the same: e) Sharing of the Word: Preaching or having someone share the message is an important part of worship that we are engaged in. Jesus, at one time, up on the mountain shared with his disciples the message that he thought they needed at that time.
3. Dance because God’s promise is fulfilled: There are 19 to 21 times that the King James Bible mentions the word ‘dance.’ In some of the references it occurred after God had done something spectacular for the people, like the song of Miriam after crossing the Red Sea. Other times, dance has been used as a means of entertainment like when Herodias’ daughter danced for Herod. Herod was so happy that he offered to give her whatever request she asked in appreciation for her dancing. We know that the daughter’s mother, Herodias) made her ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Though not happy, Herod had to honor his promise. Israelites danced around the golden calf they had made to be their God when Moses delayed coming back down the mountain.
What are some of the answered prayers you wish to celebrate today? God has been known to keep his word and fulfill his promises. Sometimes we forget that we are here because God made it possible for us to be here. Our dance for the Lord is not limited to one place. We sing that song, “Dance, then wherever you may be; I am the Lord of the Dance,” said he. “And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be and I will lead you all in the dance,” said he.” (Lord of the Dance, UMH #261). It is, therefore, part of who we are as people of faith to dance for the Lord wherever we will be. David had discovered the joy of dancing for the Lord and did not care what people said. He removed his kingly robe and danced in the street because God had allowed them to bring the Ark finally to the city so that everybody would receive a blessing. David’s wife, Michal, did not think it was funny and “she despised him in her heart.” (6:16) God was not happy with her and made her barren all her life. She was the daughter of Saul.
Let us never stop dancing for the Lord!