Sunday at Scarboro – July 15, 2018

Worship Start Time: 10:30am
Theme: Summer Church

It's summertime in Calgary! Come to Scarboro as we worship together every Sunday at 10:30am. We will have the coffee on at 10, so come early and catch up with your community. There will be more time for coffee, tea and conversation after the service in the Memorial Hall.

The children's theme this summer is "Exploring Spirituality through Science & Play" - so come and explore at Scarboro!

So, about that survey... it's just a couple minutes - really! - and it's all multiple choice... and they even have prize draws, if you're in to free ipads and such. Have your say:

David’s Dance
July 15, 2018
Rev. Lee Spice

As Michal watched David from her window, the colour rose in her cheeks.  She watched her husband, King David, bringing the Ark of the Covenant (or the Ark of God), back to Jerusalem.

After many long battles, and many deaths, the north kingdom of Israel and the south kingdom of Judah were reunited, and her husband was king over all.  The Ark of the Covenant – that vessel which was believed to carry the very presence of God – was coming back to Jerusalem.

It was an occasion for joy, and jubilation.

Perhaps Michal had envisioned a dignified procession – the very presence of God – an occasion for pageantry and honour, and solemn tears of joy as the ark was accompanied to the city.

And there is her husband, wearing a skimpy linen tunic, HALF-NAKED practically, dancing with all his might.

She was embarrassed for him.

Michal is Saul’s daughter, first married to David when he produces 200 Philistine foreskins as the bride price.  It’s in the Bible.  Proof that the stories in the Bible are not always “nice.” When David and Saul were at war, her father married her off to another man, but David insisted that she come back to him when the two kingdoms became reunited.  This, too, is in the Bible – women were pawns and property…if ever someone tries to convince you that they believe in “Biblical” marriage, perhaps we can look at stories like these.

But I digress.

As Michal watched David from her window, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment – embarrassment and anger.

Coming out to meet him at his household, Michal calls him out:  “Wow, you honoured yourself today, King of Israel, dancing half-naked in front of young girls, like a dirty old man.”

David, never to be put down, blames it on God – he was only dancing for joy because of the very presence of God – the Ark of the Covenant – has come back to Jerusalem.  David says he’ll get even more disgusting…for God, of course.

So, he says it’s all pure joy, because of God, and she says it is unseemly.

Thing is, they both have a point.  Both sides have a point.

This little scenario of both sides having a point has been played out over and over in the life of just about any community, nation, faith community or family that has ever existed.

A parent calls to the teenager as they leave the house, “Are you really going to wear THAT?”

In the 1960’s, many churches criticized the United Church of Canada, “Really, you are going to allow kids to discuss spiritual questions in Sunday School?  You won’t just tell them what’s what?”

I’m wondering – I wasn’t here in this community the first time it happened, but when the very first liturgical dance happened right here, I wonder if anyone’s cheeks flushed with embarrassment, even while others’ hearts were warmed by the presence of The Holy.

Usually, when this passage is considered, Michal becomes the one who is in the wrong.  David was simply dancing with delight at the presence of God.  How can WE not delight and dance with David with pure joy…simply because God is present?

But, how embarrassing that he would abandon all decorum, and push the boundaries of appropriate behaviour, and embarrass his wife and the innocent young girls, if not himself. Actually, I am proud of Michal, for not being a footstool, and for standing up to him, telling him that he’s not acting like a king.  In a world where she is political property, and one wife of many, she is speaking truth to power.

In today’s colloquial terms, she “called him out.”  She told him that what he was doing was inappropriate. A disagreement ensues as to what is appropriate, and what is not.  What happened, and what didn’t.  What was meant, and what wasn’t.

This started to sound familiar.

Recently, a message was circulating on the internet that speak to this phenomenon of “calling someone out.”

It started, “I’m tired of hearing that people are being called out for things.” [end quote]

I wondered how many others are feeling that fatigue, too.  It seems as if there is a new story every day.

If want to be careful, and clear, here.  It is entirely appropriate to call someone out on inappropriate behaviour.  But, if it stops there, the story ends with bitterness and shame.  The person has to wear the accusation around like a scarlet letter.

The post went on: “What if, instead of simply calling someone out, we were to CALL THEM FORTH.” [end quote]

Call them forth into reconciliation.  Call them forth into compassion.  Call them forth into humanity.  Call them forth into healing.

Suddenly, this makes sense in the world into which God calls all of us forth.

Our faith tells us that NO ONE is beyond healing.   NO ONE is beyond transformation.  NO ONE is beyond the love of God.  NO ONE is left behind.

Who of us has never messed up; never hurt somebody; never crossed a line; never been the least bit inappropriate?

How many of us thank our lucky stars that there was no internet around when we were young, or when we said that thing, or when we did that thing?  Oh my word – how many of our cheeks are colouring just for the memory of it?

But there is good news.

Whether or not a person has actually been called OUT on something, we all are continually being called FORTH into new life and new possibilities.  There is life shaming and blaming – our faith tells us that God calls us forth into new beginnings.

Our church and our country have been called out about assimilationism and residential schooling, and the great hurt that ensued.  Truth has been spoken, apologies have happened.  Confessions have been made, and all of that is necessary.

But I believe that God continues to call us forth - into new relationship, new understandings, healing, and new life.  It will be a part of our journey to figure out just how that can unfold.

And those things that make us blush?  Good news:  God moves beyond “calling out” to “calling forth.”  God leaves no person behind, calling all into reconciliation, into compassion, into humanity, into healing.  That’s grace.

So:  When the internet seems laden with calling-out stories; when the world seems to have gone mad; when there’s yet another blow dealt to justice, perhaps we can take a lesson from Michal – and speak truth to power.  But let us not leave the story unfinished, drenched in guilt and shame.  The rest of God’s story is redemption and reconciliation and healing and wholeness, as God calls all of us forth into new life.

When the world has gone mad, this is the message of grace, and that is the message that this community can share with the world. `11That’s worthy of our praise.  That’s worthy of our dancing.  And that’s worthy of our song.  Thanks be to God.

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