“And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in a moment that you forgot about yourself and were totally and purely enjoying it? Have you ever gotten so excited about something that you forget about all the masks and behavior filters you usually wear that you let yourself show all of the excitement you actually felt? It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it is unfailingly an interesting experience.
For the one who is forgetting about himself it is usually pure enjoyment the likes of which we don’t experience very often. For everyone else it can be both hilarious and awkward. The reason for this is that we are unaccustomed to people taking down their how-to-behave-in-public filters and aren’t sure how to react.
For instance, there’s a winning entry in America’s Funniest Home Videos from a few years ago showing a prank some friends played on another friend. They set him up to think he’d won a major lottery prize. He absolutely lost his head. He was so excited he was jumping up and down and screaming and showing everyone right there around him his ticket. His excitement was pure and unadulterated. And it was also an unwitting farce. His reaction was funny by itself. The joke made it even funnier, if cruel. But, he did win $10,000 for it so it turned out okay in the end.
A bit more personally, I’m pretty introverted. I’m not much of one to make a public display of myself if I can help it. On occasion, though, I’ve gotten lost in an experience and let go. When I worked at a summer youth camp, the opening session and morning rallies each week were intended to be high energy times. We had various silly costume items available to us to help make the time a bit zanier for the kids. I ran with it and found oversized pants, stuffed them full of four pool noodles, a knight’s helmet, and funky glasses. I then ran around the room screaming and chasing people and jumping out at folks walking in the door. I made an absolute fool of myself…and loved every minute of it. More importantly, I helped create an environment in which the kids felt free to loosen up and open themselves up to connect with Jesus.
David here was so excited about getting to finish his quest to bring the ark to Jerusalem (and that they had gone a little ways with no one dying) that he completely lost himself in the moment. He, the king of Israel, was dancing like no one was watching…while everyone was watching. What’s more, the little note about him doing it while wearing a linen ephod—a common undergarment—suggests he was losing himself in the moment in his underwear.
Far from debasing Himself, though, his behavior here was a net positive. He was setting an example of the kind of excitement being in the Lord’s presence should generate in our lives. He was giving his people the freedom to worship the Lord with joy and gladness and without thought of what people around them might think of them as they did it.
Worshiping the Lord for us too often comes with its own set of behavior filters. If we’re not careful, we can get so focused on maintaining our filters that we forget about actually, you know, worshiping. Worship becomes a show without a lot of actual worshiping going on. While our worship need not be an occasion to work to attract attention for the sake of attracting attention, losing ourselves in the moment so that we are before the Lord without worrying about who else might be watching is not a bad thing.
Next time you gather with the body of Christ for worship, see if you can’t let go a bit. Lose yourself in the moment. Relish the presence of your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but let yourself be before the Lord as if no one else is watching.