Read 2 Samuel 6:12-16
12 And it was told King David, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” 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 steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. 14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing 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 horn.
16 As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal the 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. (ESV)
Some people go off the deep end; others go off the shallow end. David plunged into celebration because the ark of God was coming home to Jerusalem. The ark contained the sacred law of God. So delighted was David that he gave up any thought of kingly dignity and gave himself over to spontaneous and joyful dancing. No polite prayers of thanks for David. No mere solemn rituals. Something wonderful was happening and David was responding with his whole self. Gone were the royal robes of authority, replaced by the simple and humble attire of a priest of God.
Quite often when someone is celebrating in a liberated way there is someone else on the sidelines with pursed lips and sour speech. Here it was Michal, David’s wife. All she sees is David being undignified. David mixing with the common folk. David making a fool of himself. For her, the good news of the return of the ark is utterly forgotten in her concern for protocol and propriety.
In few of our Christian gatherings do people feel free to dance for joy. Yet we gather to celebrate news that beats the ark’s return to Jerusalem. We celebrate our own return to God our Father through his Son Jesus. We do it so properly, in such an orderly way, ticking the right boxes and steering well clear of theological error. But wholehearted celebration which involves our whole bodies seems something only the extremists do. And as a result the radical and liberating good news of salvation becomes moderately pleasing news to be received with moderate pleasure.
Of course this passage doesn’t command us all to dance before the Lord. But it does at least challenge us to ask why not more of that thing actually happens. Are we immersed in the good news of God like David? Or are we looking down from our well ordered window like Michal, fearful of making fools of ourselves and doomed to watch from the sidelines while the great drama of salvation is played out before our eyes?