artwork by- Henri Matisse
Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might… 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….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!” 2 Samuel 6
My very heart lifted at the sight of the 20-something young man romping about the aisles. Totally absorbed in the rhythm of the music, he jumped and jibed, clapped and sang, all with jubilant passion. He only broke his off-beat clapping to point heavenward, giggling broadly with a slightly crooked gap toothed smile.”Wooh hoo!” He yelled, as he was caught up into the river of music filling the sanctuary from wall to wall. This is Tom. He attends my church, every Sunday, he wouldn’t miss it. He is there, front row, left side, always smiling, always joyful and always noisy! Just the way he should be.
You see Tom is a young adult in body, but he is a child in his mind. He has special needs and is just one of the several people who bless the 10:45 church services each weekend. His faith is pure and full of light. He doesn’t care if his outbursts are loud, he doesn’t know that some may think his boisterous behaviour is a bother…Tom doesn’t see the occasional side glance from others around him….”shhhh” they might say, you need to be quiet and respectful in church; this isn’t a party…
Well, they are wrong. Tom is in love! He LOVES Jesus! Without reservation. With ALL-in-I have-nothing-to-question-I-am-His abandon! He bears his heart, he dances, he sings, he claps…for him, going to church IS a party!
King David understood this kind of exhuberance in his faith as well. He didn’t mind taking risk for his beliefs or love for God…he didn’t care whether it met with his wife’s approval (or anyone else for that matter). He knew how to “make a joyful noise unto The Lord”. No wonder God said about David that he was a man after His Own heart. David wasn’t embarrassed to give a “shout out” to His Saviour and neither is Tom.
But watching Tom, I was embarrassed.
I was shamefaced and convicted that I don’t exhibit that kind of ardor and dedication when it comes to sharing my love of Jesus Christ with others. I mean, even if I am caught up in the worship music and find myself getting carried away – I will quickly stop my hand-waving and settle into a polite swaying to the music….But then there is Tom, rocking it in the front row…
Jesus said “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
One might argue, well there is a time and a place for everything. Tom is in church, that’s the right time and the right place. So, maybe I shouldn’t stand up in a restaurant and yell, “Whoop, there He is…” as I may be escorted out rather quickly – but really? When is it the right time and the right place? As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to go out into the world and share the gospel and make fishers of men. We are told to be ready in season and out to share the reason for our hope. So, these aren’t guidelines from God, they are instructions. And unlike the manual to the DVD player, I have read and understand these biblical instructions…so what is my problem? Do I fear man’s rejection?
If it is true that I profess Christ as my Saviour, is that only a part-time gig? Is my salvation part time? Please God, no! So back to David and Tom. David wrote in Psalm 129:33-34, “Search me O Lord and know my heart, Try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
Watching Tom that morning I felt that grievous way. Jesus told the apostles, whoever deny’s me to men, I will deny to the Father – then I need to pay attention. Yes, I know that those scriptures are referring to the act of salvation, but I would posit that it also means our day-to-day walk with Our Lord. We are to be actively engaging our own kingdom of influence, as God puts people in our pathways.
So though you won’t see me hanging out in an ephod dancing down the street like David, you might just catch me romping in the aisles with Tom and chatting up a stranger to tell him all about the reason for my hope…my salvation in the one and only Jesus Christ!
“Whoop, There He Is!”