Family Liturgies

Worship With All Our Might

by Dena Douglas Hobbs

Scripture: 2 Samuel 6:12b-19 (NRSV)
“So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes.”

Memory Verse
“David danced before the LORD with all his might.”
-2 Samuel 6:14

Reflection on Scripture
When I was a child growing up in a formal mainline church, to worship with all of my might meant to sit as still and quiet as I could during our hour long church service and then be rewarded after with a fried chicken dinner. Later, as a college student, I attended a charismatic student fellowship where worshiping with all my might included loudly singing praise songs as I shook a tambourine. Next I attended a church with a wonderful choir that led us in singing classic Charles Wesley hymns as the organ music took us higher and higher to heaven. Strangely now, I find myself going back to sitting as quiet and still as I can before God, listening for God in the silence, looking for God in the sunrise, being open to the Spirit blowing in the breeze.

As we read about David dancing with all his might before the arc and Michal despising him, we know that what is full-out worship for one does not equal worship for another.

I remember learning this again as a pastor taking a large group of twelve-year-olds on a confirmation retreat. They would stand and sing awkwardly during our formal worship times, even though the music was intended to be geared toward their age and taste. But where I saw them truly worshiping with all their might was when they climbed up the might live oaks or ran long the edge of the ocean shore. They worshiped with their strong legs, curious eyes, and belly laughs.

It can be a challenge sometimes to worship as a family, as what feels like all-out authentic worship for one may not be natural for another, even in our own family circle. I think the best we can do it take the “shoulds” and “have tos” out of worship and be open to where moments of worship naturally open up in family life. As parents we can learn to be patient and even delight in our children’s active worship – just like children can learn to recognize the patterns of their parent’s worship.

Whatever worshiping with all your might ends up looking like, may you have grace to be open to each other and the Spirit of God moving in your midst.

Questions for Discussion
-How do you worship God with all your might?
-How do you worship at home?
-At church?
-Anywhere and Everywhere?

Spiritual Practice
Spend some time in worship as a family this week in a way that is most natural for you. Maybe that means singing, praying, running as fast as you can, dancing in the surf of the sea, or quietly watching the sunset. Let all of yourself be lifted up to God.

O Holy God, we marvel at your glory,
we are in awe of your majesty,
we bow before your might,
we give thanks for your mercy and grace.
Today we offer you all that we have
and all that we are.
Accept our worship today.
May it be pleasing to you. Amen.

Dena Douglas Hobbs is the author of Lighten the Darkness, an Advent devotional. She blogs weekly at Centering Down.


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