August 04, 2008

Dancing to God's Glory

2 Samuel 6:1-15

“David … danced before the Lord with all his might.”
2 Samuel 6:14


A friend of mine told me about the day he brought his bell choir to a small town church. The performers were all cognitively impaired adults. Ken, the pastor, told my friend that he was overjoyed by the people's response to the choir. They were experiencing an awakening to the gifts God brings to a congregation through people with disabilities. An episode prior to the bell choir's visit had elicited a different reaction. Just two weeks before the bell choir performed, Pastor Ken's congregation was singing an especially lively song during a music-filled service. A member of the church, a man who is cognitively impaired, was moved like King David to get up and dance in the back of church. His dancing was not an attempt to grab the spotlight; it was a heartfelt response to the way the Spirit was moving him. That Sunday, people in the congregation asked, “When will he ever learn proper behavior in church?” But now, as the congregation experienced the musical gifts of the bell choir, there was a different reaction. “Maybe he is showing us the way,” people said. Two Bible study groups from the church decided to identify the marginalized people in their community and seek ways to become more inclusive. Is God calling you to welcome people like this too?

Lord, sometimes we get so serious that we miss your work through others. Lift up our eyes, Lord. Help us to put hands and feet into welcoming and celebrating with others. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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