2 Samuel 6:1-5 

Not only does David have good military instincts, his intuition covers politics and liturgy, too. He demonstrates this by deciding to transport the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is already known as the city of David, but he’s ready for it to also be known as the city of God. So David organizes the ark’s journey to be a cross between a military parade and a holy procession.

This time of celebration and fulfillment contrasts with the reality of Israel’s violent military conquests and ancient religious perception. The account is sandwiched between a story where God gives David intel on how to strike down the Philistines (5:25) and one in which God strikes dead an Israelite who steadies the ark when an oxen pulling the ark stumbled (6:7), which sours David’s enthusiasm considerably. 

But in between these hard, strange scenes, we find David, along with all the young men of Israel, marching and dancing behind the ark, celebrating with all their might (v. 5). 

In spite of all that surrounds it, this is a happy and joyful moment. And it’s a needed reminder that as we make the journeys God calls us to make, we must engage all parts of ourselves, all of who we are. We need these moments that involve our bodies and our souls. 

We need a harp in our hands. A joyfully resounding cymbal can be important to our spiritual well-being, especially when our faith has soured somewhat and we’re not sure what to do next. That’s a moment to reach for a castanet…or a garden hoe or a trusted recipe book or a yoga mat. We don’t often think our way back into well-being. We use all of who we are, especially the physical, sensual, material, and communal. Sing something. Join a parade. Dance like David. 


Identify the ways you intentionally celebrate. How have certain activities that may not be obviously spiritual helped restore and re-center you?


God, help us learn to love you with all of our might. Help us celebrate you with mind and heart, as well as body and soul. Amen.

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