You likely know the stories of David the Shepherd-Boy turned giant-slayer, David who survives Saul to become king, and David and Bathsheba. Somewhere in the midst of all of that, David also became a dancer. He danced before the Lord and the throngs of Israel and under the scornful eye of his wife (and Saul's daughter) Michal. 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19 tells that story. We'll read it Sunday.
I've been around people who seemed to be dancing with such joy and abandon that it was as if the distractions and problems of the world disappeared. More often I've been around people who are self-conscious about their dancing, either from not wanting anyone to pay attention to them or from really wanting people to pay attention to them. I admire those who can drift off into dancing without self-consciousness. I'm not one of those. At best, I'm a mix, of often being too self-consciousness and occasionally being free to enjoy the moment.
It's hard to know others' motives and we can't be sure by reading about our complicated ancestor David, so there is some debate about the primary motivation for the scene we'll read about Sunday. My supposition is that, like much of our lives, it's a mixed bag. David wanted to do the right thing, honoring God and joyfully celebrating the arrival of the ark. He was also motivated to give legitimacy to the new capital Jerusalem and to stir up the crowd's support. The reality is if we wait until our motivation is 100% pure to do something that honors God, we're likely to only do something that honors God on the rarest of days. Perhaps it's the uncomfortable and self-conscious attempts at dancing that help us reach those moments of joyful abandon.
See you Sunday.