I have a great fear that form trumps passion, rather than form being a conduit for passion, in our churches. Form is right and proper we need to do everything decently and in order. And our God is the God who brings order out of chaos. He does not glory in chaos and neither should we.
Yes the prescriptions for how we arranges our worship are very limited. The focus is upon the heart that we are to have and be worshiping in spirit and in truth.
Can I bring a test for us in this light then. How would do you respond to the account of David and Michal in 2 Samuel 8:13-16.
When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.
and 2 Samuel 6 :20-22a
When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, ‘How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!’
David said to Michal, ‘It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel – I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.
David was so thrilled about the ark of God, emblematic of God’s presence, coming back among the people of God. He demonstrated this passionately in his uninhibited dancing. Much energy seemed to be going into it. He was just overwhelmed with delight and that was demonstrated in his bodily movements. His reputation was not paramount, but his delight in the Lord was.
His wife, Michal, had no affinity with David in this. She despised him for his exuberance and thought he was just unnecessarily making a fool of himself.
I fear that I and many of us in our churches are very Michal-like. We rightly covet reverence and decorum, but in our emphasis thereupon have we squeezed out of our services anything that might be David-like.
And if there was anything David-like happening in our services would be despising that person for their unseemly irreverence.
Everything points to the fact that the Lord was on David’s side of the matter and not Michal’s. In fact the next chapter of scripture gives us one of the mega-promises of the Bible. And it was to…… David of course. The man who had just disgraced himself in Michal’s eyes was to be the one upon whom an eternal kingdom would be bestowed.
David not Michal was on the right side of history. Which side are we on? Of course we say, as good evangelicals, that we must be with David. But in reality are we really?