Joy in a Tangible Kingdom.
Daily Advent Reflection.
2 Samuel 6:12-19.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Angels we have on heard high
Sweetly singing ore the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains
Gloria in excelsis Deo
Gloria in excelsis Deo
“Angels We Have Heard on High”
Sixpence None the Richer – Listen [ Youtube ]
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After enjoying a meal at a restaurant just a few blocks from where I live, I was getting up to pay when the man in the booth behind me asked for my attention. He had evidently noticed the Bible that I had been reading during my meal as I was reading through the Scripture passages for today. After getting my attention, he pointed to the Bible and said that he had an intriguing question for me.
This middle-aged, blue collar man desired a conversation about the different religions of the world as opposed to the one about Jesus. After I posited a few things to him about this initial question, his thought lead him to ask my opinion about the sad reality that many people are lost and will not receive the blessings of heaven. And sad I did become. I’m sad because we so often fall into the modern trap of putting life into categories and thereby leaving this world void of the possibility of the coming of the kingdom of God. I’m continually reminded by conversations such as these that not only have we not read the Scriptures enough but, more importantly, we have not taken the time to read its story as our own. The story of Scripture, of God and his people, is not the story that lays the foundation for the Way of our lives. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together states the importance for all of us to be “torn out of our own existence and set down in the midst of the holy history of God on earth” (p.53). Only when we commit ourselves to this kind of interaction with Scripture can we find trouble in the absence of God’s kingdom in our midst
In our story today, David begins afraid. The ark cannot enter Jerusalem because of fear, the kind of fear that Chris has mentioned over the past weeks. David knows not what to do with the events that have just taken place. Uzzah is dead, and as we learned yesterday thanks to our friend John Jay Alvaro, the oxen have a story to tell about the weightiness of God’s presence in our midst. After blessings fall upon the household of Obed-edom, Gentiles, David repents from anger and fear and brings the ark into the city with rejoicing. The ark of God finally has come to the people! Fear has been overcome and salvation once again is possible. As we see from Saul’s daughter Michal, not all are overwhelmed with joy. If we learn joy in salvation from David, we must learn forgiveness and reconciliation in light of Michal. Because of her selfishness and bitterness toward David, she cannot rejoice in the presence of God and share in the abundance of his kingdom.
The reaction of the people went beyond dancing in joy as we learn in vv. 18, 19. The nature of the kingdom is presence. The people are present together with God. This presence does not end in a few words and a hope for a future life beyond death. God’s kingdom manifests itself in particular ways. In this case, the people share together in a meal. We must find the ability to slow down, cast away fear, and live together in the midst of one another and the joy of a salvation that works itself out in every aspect of life. Our eating, our dancing, and our reconciliation to one another. As we prepare for the presence of Christ in our midst, may we find, as David did, joy in the coming of God’s kingdom and all that it means for our lives in our particular places.
Kyle Mobley is a recent graduate of Johnson University who now lives on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis as a part of the Englewood Christian Church Community.