Read 2 Samuel 6:12-15,17-19, Ps. 24:7-10, Mark 3:31-35

“David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod.” (2 Samuel 6:14)

Recently, a video of some persons slaughtering two rams and then collecting the blood in a basin went viral. According to the video description, this event occurred just before construction (rehabilitation) work began on a very popular bridge in Nigeria. When a typical African reads the Old Testament, certain practices resonate because they resemble the religion of our forefathers.

In today’s first reading (and several instances in the Old Testament), animals were slaughtered for sacrifice, and their blood was collected in basins and sprinkled on the people. Another Old Testament practice that we relate to is dancing. For us, dancing is an intricate aspect of worship. David danced almost naked while bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Did David forget he was the king of Israel? Why did he have to “embarrass” himself publicly?

1. David Danced to Acknowledge God’s Presence: David’s dance is similar to the dance of little children when their parents arrive from work or on a journey. David danced out of excitement because he knew that God’s blessings would come upon Israel with the Ark in its rightful place. In 2 Samuel 6:12, we read: “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.’” If you believe God is with you, you will dance for joy.

2. David’s Danced to Seek God’s Pardon and Mercy: On a deeper level, David’s dance was a sacrifice of atonement. Clothes are a symbol of dignity. By covering ourselves, we cover our shame. (Do you notice that we tear off the clothes of a person caught stealing? We do so to humiliate them). David took off his clothes to humiliate himself, just as the king of Nineveh tore his clothes and sat on ashes when Jonah preached. David sought to undo Hophni and Phineas' error that led to the capture of the Ark.

3. David Restored the Priesthood by Dancing with the Linen Ephod: The only piece of clothing on David’s body was the ephod. Saul hated Samuel for anointing David. He even tried to destroy the priesthood. Luckily, Abiathar escaped, and the only object of the priesthood left was the ephod, a piece of white cloth worn by the priest over their loins, which symbolises purity (chastity, sinlessness). The ephod (now known as Alb) is still worn by catholic priests today. By wearing this vestment, David recognised that, but for Samuel’s anointing, he couldn’t have come this far.

4. Jesus Wants You to Dance with Him: Dancing is always a favourite family ritual. In the presence of your family members, there is no shyness. Jesus’ family members missed him because he was occupied with full-time ministry. They heard he wasn’t eating well (one day, He was walking through the grain fields and plucking raw grains to eat). They wanted to take Him home, but Jesus had bigger agendas. He was forming a larger family that would admit as many as possible, provided they followed the rules. There is no family without rules. In Jesus’ family, the rule is obedience, practising what the Word of God says. Do you belong to this family? Take time every evening to dance with Jesus.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, grant that I may never lose my connection to you. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of week 3 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 2 Samuel 6:12-15,17-19, Ps. 24:7-10, Mark 3:31-35).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu