8 Pentecost, July 15

2 Sam. 6:1-5, 12b-19 or Amos 7:7-15
Ps. 24 or Ps. 85:8-13
Eph. 1:3-14Mark 6:14-29

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them” (Matt. 20:25). An obsession with power, prestige, and reputation provide motive again and again for evils that would otherwise not be committed. Herod did not want the beheading of John the Baptist, did not want the prophet’s severed head put on a platter and given to his daughter Herodias. He did not want a banquet and dance recital to end in brutality and blood, but he had given his word. For the sake of his oath and for his guests, Herod ordered the death of a man whom he knew to be just and holy. Thus it has been, and thus it will be until all powers are subject to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Notwithstanding the evils of the present age, the victory of Christ the King, the King of Peace, is assured and promised. Jesus is written in Scripture and painted on the canvas of the cosmos. Let those who have eyes to see, see. Jesus is the ark of God, the empty space between the cherubim, the empty space between burial garments (2 Sam. 6:2; John 20:6-7). Jesus is “no thing” and yet the source of everything. Jesus is the light of the world, the light of humanity, the source, guide, and goal of all that is. Let those of a brave and joyful heart take up the ark and bring it to the center of the city and into the heart of the earth. And let those who hear the music dance the dance of love. Jesus is the king who invites and inspires the dance of life and love.

Jesus is everywhere and yet he deigns to be here. Where we are, Jesus is. “[God the Father] chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4-6). Just as Jesus is the tabernacle of God, we are temples of the Spirit. The ark we welcome, we become by a deep mystical communion. The good pleasure of the Father, the lavish grace of the Father poured into the Son, seeps into the daughters and sons of God.

We are the good pleasure of God set forth in Christ. And yet the less we are, the less we maneuver and compete like the rulers of this age, the less the ego has to claim and defend, the more a new humanity in Christ emerges. “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). Strangely, this new dispossessed self is deeper, stronger, more stable, and more joyful.

In Christ we have redemption by his blood and the forgiveness of our sin, but we also have something more (Eph. 1:7). We have the sheer and unbridled joy of being alive from the dead. What are we to do? When David and his house brought the Ark of God from Baale-judah, there was dancing with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. There was shouting and the sound of trumpets, leaping and dancing. There was a benediction and the sharing of bread and meat and cakes of raisin.

Did you know that the Father holds the hands of the Son and, in Spirit, they move to the song of love?

Look It Up
Read 2 Samuel 6:5.

Think About It
There is nothing serious about it. Become like a child.

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