March Madness ended in an amazing win for Kansas! Google a look at how the team danced in joy as confetti rained down. And it was noisy. The crowd roared with delight!
At the conclusion of all sporting events, international, national or even local the champions and their supporters make themselves known in loud celebration. The Stanley Cup winners parade through town while fans cheer and wave as they do over the Super Bowl triumph too. Parties erupt from the sports arenas into the streets. People sing and dance because their team has been victorious. Even locally I never missed my sons’ soccer games and when the finals came we always rejoiced greatly over the winners, parents proud as peacocks, with back slapping, hand shaking and maybe even a wee jig of joy. Paradoxically even folks who are not prone to overt displays of emotion seem to lose it. I know not everyone is wired the same way but noting the reason for this type of jubilance is important. What occurs in your life that prompts you to dance with joy even if it is not normally how you behave?
I heard an old preacher ask years ago why Christians don’t act the same way. It made perfect sense to me. After all, we are celebrating the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!
More than anyone else in the Bible David got this. You know how you’ve read a portion of scripture many many times before but then the next time something jumps off the page at you. The other night in I Chronicles chapters 15 and 16 exactly that happened. I love joyous worship myself but this king, who is described as a man “after my own (God’s) heart”, (I Samuel 13:14) wow, he went all out! I had noticed this before yet this time this theme of loud celebration seemed to repeat itself again and again.
“Now sanctify yourselves with all your brothers so that you may bring the Ark of Jehovah, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. The Lord destroyed us before because we handled the matter improperly…” 15: 12, 13
Note they were destroyed because they transported the Ark incorrectly before. This is important, very important and David realized that this time he must do it right. Following God’s dictates is serious stuff. So is worship. Not only is God eminently worthy of our praise, (1 Samuel 17:47) praise is also where he dwells. (Psalm 22:3) We are called to participate with our whole hearts, joyfully and enthusiastically.
“King David also ordered the Levite leaders to organize the singers into an orchestra, and they played loudly and joyously upon psalteries, harps and cymbals.” vs 16
“So the leaders of Israel took the Ark to Jerusalem with shouts of joy, the blowing of horns and trumpets, the crashing of cymbals, and loud playing on the harps and zithers.” vs 28
“at that time, David began the custom of using choirs in the Tabernacle to sing thanksgiving to the Lord….”
“Oh give thanks to the lord and pray to him,” they sang.
Following then a long anthem of praise in vs 36 we read,
“Blessed be Jehovah God of Israel, forever and forevermore.” And all the people shouted, “Amen” and praised the Lord.
“…and several others were chosen by name to give thanks to the Lord for his constant love and mercy. They used their trumpets and cymbals to accompany the singers with loud praises to God…”
Even if you may not be inclined to be loud, what does make your heart sing and your legs dance? What moves you that much? Consider who Jehovah is and has been to you.
Jehovah Rapha-your healer
Adonia-your Lord and Master
El Shaddai-your all sufficient Lord
Elohim-your creator and judge
Jehovah Jireh-your provider
Yahweh-Lord of all
Jehovah Raah-your shepherd
Jehovah Shammah-the Lord is there
Perhaps I told you this before but it is worth repeating. My beautiful friend from South Africa felt she wanted to dance in worship and the Lord kept prompting her to do so during Sunday service week after week. She argued with him.
“How can I dance? What would folks think?”
But the Lord replied, “Does it matter what they think?”
The congregation was mainly white, with some black and Indian people too. This was an important consideration to her. She became very uncomfortable in the service as this urge grew and grew each week. Finally she quieted her fearful mind and mustered up the courage and the faith to step out.
The following week the pastor called her to come to see him.
“Oh no,” she thought. “I was almost certain that someone had been offended and complained about what I had done,” she told me.
But instead the pastor informed her of the how the beauty, grace, passion and faith displayed by her dance of worship had blessed so very many. He thanked her for her obedience to simply obey God’s prompting to worship as she felt led.
I happened to be there one Sunday much later when she stepped out in faith to dance again. It was as though she were a ballerina gliding and floating, her arms and feet carrying her across the front of the auditorium as she swept back and forth. It was such a breathtakingly beautiful form of worship that it brought me to tears.
“Come let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” Psalm 95:1
“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” Psalm 41:1
“Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” Isaiah 12:6
“Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” Psalm 149:3-4
Clearly God loves music and so do we! Music worship is so rich, rousing and relatable yet certainly not all worship involves music. And, we are so very inhibited even if we wanted to express more. (I’m also speaking to myself here. I do dance privately here at home.) However, when we get to heaven there will be no holding us back! I can’t wait! I tell my boys to look for me in the music section.
Whether your best offering of worship is baking for a neighbour or the church fete, volunteering at your local foodbank or reading to your grandchildren do it as unto the Lord! Do it with a profoundly grateful heart! Do it as if it may be your last act of worship (for surely it may be)! Do it with gusto and overwhelming enthusiasm! Dare to even do it loudly! Risen Saviour-celebrate!!!