January 23, 2018
by Jeanne Schuler
Creighton University's Philosophy Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 318

2 Samuel 6:12b-15, 17-19
Psalms 24:7, 8, 9, 10
Mark 3:31-35

Praying Ordinary Time

God of the Dance

“Then David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon.” (2 Samuel 6:14)
According to legend, David carried armor and played the harp for King Saul.  The youth vanquished Goliath and won fame on the battlefield.  David made Jerusalem the capital of a restive kingdom.  He seduced an officer’s wife and had her husband killed.  Absalom led a revolt against David, and the father wept over his son’s dead body.  Betrayed and betrayer, poet and king, David won fame that soared like desert winds.  His life was epic.  But his greatness did not lie here.

The wooden box, the sign of the covenant, accompanied the Israelites on their journey.  When the ark was carried into Jerusalem, the celebration spilt out into the streets.  David led the dancing.  The beloved dwelt among them.  They were home.  Each household shared the bread and the meat of the sacrifice. We remember David for dancing before the Lord.  Conquest, lust, and heartbreak did not define him.  His joy ran deeper.  In trusting God, he was freed.  Here lies David’s greatness.  From his line the Messiah would come.  Like the tent in which the ark was placed, the future king would take humble form.

Nietzsche once swore he’d believe only in a god that knows how to dance.  He was confident that no supreme being would pass that test.  For skeptics, religion breeds authoritarian traits.  Submission, denial, vengeance, and guilt are its hallmarks.  Nietzsche takes pathology as normal.  When scorn and condemnation are ascendant, then religion has lost its way.  But God is never insular or indifferent.  We are created for love.  In our loving this world, God lives and moves in us.

Pope Francis launched a two-year campaign to Share the Journey with immigrants and refugees.   Here are the kinfolk whom Jesus welcomes to the table.  Their labor and sacrifice help to build the community that is our home.  These sisters and brothers are in trouble.  What good is love that does not act?  The time is now.

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