I immediately break into a smile when I am dancing, or watching other people dance. It doesn’t have to be good dancing, just relaxed and fun – like no one is watching or judging. I can keep a beat but am not too good at picking up choreography. Watching someone who is a master creates enchanting awe and jealousy in me. My grandparents were terrific ballroom dancers. My parents were jitterbug champions. My daughter danced competitively for several years. My sister-in-law was a National Champion clogger. Watching them dance makes me feel like I am dancing with them. The movie Happy Feet is about a penguin who dances. He refers to dancing as “singing with your body.”
People dance in different ways. Some with fancy shoes, some with no shoes, and some with professional shoes. Some swing, waltz, shag, clog, disco, tango, square dance, breakdance, and everything in between. There are ceremonial dances, interpretive dances, and my favorite, freestyle.
I was at a wedding reception where there was dancing. That is my ticket to having a blast. Dancing with friends and family of all ages, dance skills, and shyness levels. You can coax the ones who are hesitant, enjoy those who are enthusiastic and embrace the freedom of movement. Dancing at a wedding is even better because it is a celebratory dance. Joy spills out of every fiber of your being as you hop, sway, and bop your happiness. As I looked around the room full of smiling faces, lights flashing, people holding light-up party favors, and soaked in the general feeling of revelry, it occurred to me that this is how I feel when I truly sense the presence of the Lord with and in me! King David felt it, too!
The Ark of the Covenant was, in Bible times, where the Lord God Almighty dwelt. This Ark resided among His people, the Jews. It was mobile. The Ark was captured by the enemies of Israel, the Philistines, who had held it for some time. The Lord cursed the Philistines wherever they held it, so they sent it back to the land of Israel. The Ark spent time in some more remote cities, but once David became King, he went to retrieve it so that God’s presence would be closer to him. As he brought the Ark to Jerusalem, “David and all the people of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals.” (2 Samuel 6:5) On the way into town, “David sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. And David danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Sam 6:13-14). David worshipped with reckless abandon all because He was joyous at being in the presence of the Lord. Now, this journey with the Ark did not come without some painful lessons, but that is for another time. What sticks with me is that now, we don’t have to be near the Ark of the Covenant to be in God’s presence. Jesus’s death on the cross on our behalf was the ultimate sacrifice, complete. Now, when we accept that sacrifice, we can ALWAYS come into the presence of the Lord! It makes us pure so that we can be near Him! No more bulls and calves have to die because Jesus paid it all! THAT is reason enough to dance, but to be in the presence of the King?! Master of all space, time, and dimension?! Forever?! What a GIFT!
I can picture David’s jubilant dancing because that is how my husband dances. It is a joyful thing. He even won a medal once for the “most enthusiastic dancer.” He never misses a chance to dance and his exuberance is contagious. On days we don’t feel quite like dancing, perhaps we should spend a little more time focusing on this Mighty God who not only saves, but also loves and rejoices over us. Then the things of this earth will grow strangely dim and we can dance in His presence.