Rumours abound that King David has been seen dancing in the raciest fashion. Shocked eyewitness reports describe the royal behind flashing in the sun. It is alleged that the King, heralding the arrival of the Chest of God to his city, danced ecstatically at the head of a carnival procession of musicians and soldiers, girded only in a priestly apron. He had the whole country on his side — with one exception.
His wife Michelle says she was shocked and horrified when she glanced out her window, and saw her husband and king uncovering himself ‘like a shameless vulgar fellow’ before the eyes of his servants’ maids.
His Highness was unabashed. “I have danced before the LORD,” said King David. “In future, I will do things which may look even more contemptible in your eyes and in mine, but by those maids I shall be held in honour.”
Once in Jerusalem, the Chest of God was placed in a tent pavilion where King David worshipped and made offerings. Then he blessed everyone in the name of God-of-the-Angel-Armies, and distributed food to every person there: bread, meat, and raisin cakes.
But questions remain: Was the greatest king Israel has ever known really dancing around the city wearing only an apron? Was it all a naked publicity stunt? And what did the young maids see?
Have someone with a big ‘heraldic’ voice read this aloud and see what happens. What surprises you? What shocks you? What questions does it raise? Where do your sympathies lie?
A tween in our service commented: You think God is all good and proper, but then there’s stories like this. There’s quite a few of them. By now, I’m not so surprised.
My more formal reflection is here.
A playful re-telling of 2 Samuel 6:1-22 (selections), written for Sanctuary, 15 July 2018 (BP10; Year B Proper 10) © Alison Sampson, 2018. May be used freely in worship and other non-commercial environments, appropriately attributed. Admittedly ridiculous image found here.