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{advent study week three
extravagant worship}

advent wreath - bible study

2 Samuel 6:12-19

Now King David was told, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.

They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD. After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

This is an extravagant scene: a procession with the ark, a sacrificed ox and fatling, a dancing king, and choice foods. People are shouting and trumpets are playing. Order is teetering on the brink of chaos as David the king leaps with all his might. For some who are there, it is simply too much. David's wife, Michal, thinks he's acting shamelessly: surely a king ought to behave otherwise! Many of us can understand her reaction: worship must be done decently and in order. Too much extravagance calls attention to us rather than God. Or does it?

David dances before a God who does extravagant things: a God who makes a home among mortals and chooses Israel to be God's own; a God who brings His people into a land flowing with milk and honey; a God who embraces the world in the flesh of Jesus Christ. Extravagant? Yes, indeed. The procession, the dance, and the feast that ensue are thankful responses to God's extravagance.

Sometimes extravagance is the veneer for greed: celebrity homes keep getting bigger, the largest paychecks keep getting fatter. But the extravagance of the procession is different. Here the entire people of God take part in a feast; here all give praise as God's anointed king embodies their praise in dance.

During Advent we prepare ourselves once again for the gift that is God's Son and we are invited to respond extravagantly with out life. All of it. Thanks be to God.


Holy God, we thank you for the extravagant gift of life given to us in Jesus Christ. Prepare us to receive that gift anew, as we keep the feast and join in the dance. Amen

David H. Jensen - Professor of Constructive Theology
Associate Dean for Academic Programs

Reflections on Advent from the
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary Community

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