14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:14-16 (NIV)
They brought it (a colt), threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” Luke 19:35-39 (NIV)
Scripture tells us there is a time to dance… and one of those times is when God’s presence comes into your life. That’s why David was dancing. That’s why the disciples were throwing palms (coats) and shouting praises. They were in effect having a party because God’s presence was coming into Jerusalem in the form of God’s son. David and Jesus’ disciples were dancing and singing before the Lord because they were witnessing God becoming present among them in both symbolic (ark) and in human form (Jesus).
You would think this action would be celebrated by all. At the very least it would be accepted.
Michal looked upon David’s dancing with contempt and despised him in her heart. The Pharisees demanded that Jesus tell His disciples to be silent.
But David didn’t stop dancing and Jesus didn’t rebuke His disciples because when God becomes present to us, it is a time to celebrate!
I understand why “The Invitation” has fallen out of disfavor in modern worship, but I miss it. I understand that standards of membership and attractional theology tend to discourage an open invitation in the worship service. But to me “The Invitation” was and is a time for us to celebrate God’s becoming present in the life of an individual in some new way. Sometimes it is God becoming present for the first time… sometimes it is God becoming present in a new way, with a new calling. But when someone responded to the invitation it was our opportunity as a church to celebrate…to dance before the Lord.
Oh, I know, not all churches have done away with the invitation, but many have. And I wonder, how do we “dance before the Lord” when we see God becoming present in someone’s life. Not talking about dancing during the worship songs… that’s a different type of dancing. Talking about dancing that acknowledges that God has become flesh in our life and called us to a new thing… that God is personally present with us and because of that our life is about to change. Not the emotive dancing that invites God to be present that I see during most “music sets” but the dancing that brings tears to the eyes and passion to our mission.
And while I know too many Invitation didn’t really invite that… that, in my mind, was always the intention. So where is that in our church today.
Oh God, let me find you present again in my life, either in a new way or even in the same old way that will cause all things to become new. Let me see that presence and celebrate it by dancing before you with joy. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran