Mayhem and Foolishness: The Neked Truth

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Genesis 39:1-18

In Florida we are quickly approaching the beginning of the school year…which for some means that summer is over…even though we all know in Florida that summer REALLY isn’t over until…uhhhh…Valentine’s Day? And then it usually kicks back up around the beginning of March.

You think I’m joking? Come visit…you’ll see…

Before we get all serious about life since we are heading back to school and settling into a more routine work schedule, I thought we would share in some fun with a sermon series on some of the Mayhem and Foolishness going on in Scripture.

This week: Streakers. Yes, my friends, streakers.

Join us in worship on Sunday to hear all about the Joseph running around Egypt without any clothes.

For the purpose of this blog, I turn my attention to another streaker in Scripture.  “What Sarah?!  More than one streaker in Scripture?!”  Yes!  Yes there is!  This streaker was King of Israel!  This streaker was none other than David – first, humble shepherd boy and player of the lyre, then slayer of Goliath, then uniting force of Israel, and now neked (pronounced neck-ed) and dancing before the Ark of the Covenant.

II Samuel 6 recounts how David brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.  “David and all the house of Israel were danging before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals” (II Sam 6:5).  In verse 14 we read, “David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod.” An ephod is a linen garment worn by priests during worship as an official vestment; it fits over the head and is rectangular in shape, hanging down the front and back of the body.  Michal, daughter of Saul was not pleased with David’s choice of clothing saying in verse 20, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before  the eyes of his servants’ maids, as any vulgar fellow might shamelessly uncover himself!”  Michal was not pleased with David’s behavior or his choice of fine but meager garment.  She felt that he was completely undignified.

When I was in college I served my home church as their Children’s Ministry Intern.  We offered a weekly children and family service called Firehouse and a regular song during that service was entitled “Undignified.”  The song sang

I will dance I will sing to be mad for my king
nothing Lord is hindering the passion in my soul

And I’ll become even more undignified than this
some would say its foolishness

It was a very simple song.  Had some “na na na heys!” in there, too.  The kids loved it…as did the adults…well…at least this adult.  And whether we knew it or not, this song was about King David – dancing before the Lord – undignified, unashamed, wholly caught up in the moment, wholly caught up in the Lord.  

I think sometimes our clothes hold us back.  Not meaning they are too small and constricting so we’re uncomfortable – although I have been known not to purchase a dress or blouse if I can’t raise my arms completely over head.  Clothes hold us back because if we dress a certain way then we feel we have to act a certain way.  Like our clothes determine our behavior.  That’s not always a bad thing – dress professionally – act professionally.  But what if the clothes we wear when we come before the Lord withhold us from becoming undignified, becoming unashamed and giving the Lord all we have?

And what if it’s not just our clothes holding us back?  What if it’s our titles, the positions we hold in our professional lives, among our friends, in the church?  What if it’s pride or our fear of what other people will think of us that keep us from being undignified before the Lord?

It’s time to strip all that away.  It’s time to claim freedom.

By no means am I endorsing streaking in church.  Once in college a streaker ran though a convocation service…it was…yeah…I don’t want to qualify it.  But he was fully committed to what he was doing, even to the moment of getting caught.  Are we willing to have that same fervor in our worship of the Lord?  Fully committed to what we are doing, even to the moment when our neighbor looks over and says, “what in the world are you doing?!”

Humans may say it’s foolishness.

God receives it as true, unhindered, unrestrained worship.

Prayer: “Lord God, your love has called us here, as we, by love, for love were made; your living likeness still we bear, though marred, dishonored, disobeyed; we come, with all our heart and mind, your call to hear, your love to find.  We come with self-inflicted pains of broken trust and chosen wrong, half-free, half-bound by inner chains, by social forces swept along, by powers and systems close confined, yet seeking hope for humankind.  Lord God, in Christ you call our name, and then receive us as your own; not through some merit, right, or claim, but by your gracious love alone; we strain to glimpse your mercy seat, and find you kneeling at our feet.”*  Amen.

*”Lord God, Your Love Has Called Us Here,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 579.