Thursday, March 12, 2009

Old Testament Informal Worship...Dancing?!

Dancing- The Movement of Worship

Lets look at 2 Samuel 6:12-19,, tell me what forms or models of worship are here?

Some of us may be surprised to learn that certain forms of dancing were a part of Old Testament worship. But in 2 Samuel 6:12-19, in what was apparently an act of worship to God, David himself danced before the Ark of the Covenant.
In verses 14 and 16 we see David dancing with the joy of and gratitude towards God flowing out through David and his worship. Jerusalem here has become the legitimate shrine to the ark of the Yahweh. That God is now the patron and has taken up residence in the city of David. The celebrations we see here are one of unashamed extravagance outside of the more formal worship setting.

Indeed Bruggerman says ‘that this event evokes extravagance, for the coming of the ark is Yahweh self-giving to David and to Israel new political beginning.’ The community here loses its constraint and in its gratitude for the presence of God goes into a social extravaganza, which is unimaginable in many of churches today. Life has started again the Ark is back in the city of David and the party is rocking. Alongside this social extravaganza we see a royal one-take place with David. David breaks any sense of royal etiquette when he in verse 14 decides to take the pose of a worshipper, rather than a king. There has been much speculation over David’s dance here. Some argue and suggest that David participates here in a large orgy like gathering and that is why later on he is rebuked by Michal. Yet others have suggested at the positive extreme that this is a proper liturgical dance and is to be seen as a proper expression of bodily worship. The narrative gives us little insight here but it does show us that all this was in response of gratitude and worship to a Yahweh and the arrival of his presence in the city of David. Bruggerman makes another point that this could have also been a political act to express profound solidarity with Yahweh in his new foundation of a new regime, for instance verse 17 with the new shrine around the ark.

What we do see here is that this dancing and movement are legitimate forms of response and gratitude, and most importantly can form part of worship. If there fit forms of worship for the King of Israel then…


Anonymous said...

Amen! I think dancing in worship can be hard because you can feel inhibited by what people might think if you do- I guess that applies to men even more than it does women- but if you do it, it's so liberating! And if David dared to do it in front of his people, I don't see why we shouldn't. =)

ali_johnson said...

Yeah I am with you. Totally loving the idea of seeing some people losing it like that ;).