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Make a Joyful Noise

Posted on 27 Oct 2019

October 27, 2019

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 6:1-5, 16, 20-22

Psalm 150

Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman


Last week, during the Youth Choir pizza party, Bill Degan, our organist, taught the kids a song about a magic broom. And with his magic broom, he turned them into frogs, fish, and then horses, and they danced and danced and danced around the Dining Room. (There is even video.)

Make a Joyful Noise!

A member of our congregation often wears bells on his shoes bringing music and joy with him wherever he goes.

Make a Joyful Noise!

King David danced, danced as he and 30,000 of the chosen men of Israel, brought the Ark of God up to Jerusalem.

Make a Joyful Noise!

Too often in our society, too often in the church, we equate being quiet with being respectful, being still with being faithful. While our denomination, the United Church of Christ, has never earned the disparaging nickname of the Frozen Chosen, our Puritan ancestry has left us with an unhelpful and unhealthy legacy – that music, dancing, and generally being physically moved by the Spirit is bad, very bad.

The legacy of our Puritan ancestry has too often kept us rooted in our seats, hands quietly in our laps, serious expressions plastered on our faces, when God is doing God’s darndest to move us, to inspire us, to make us feel and respond to God’s Holy Spirit.

There is a time and place for being still and knowing God. There is a time and place for sitting in quiet discernment to hear God’s still speaking voice.

And there is a time and place for laughing out loud at the joy of God’s love, for dancing to the glory of God, singing to the glory of God, for making a joyful noise, for standing up, clapping, swaying, moving to the beat and giving glory to God.

Just as David does.

David, of David and Goliath fame; David, the psalm writer and musician; has just been anointed king over Israel in addition to being king of Judah. After years of fighting, years of uncertainty and conflict, the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the twelve tribes of Jacob, will finally united and at peace.

In celebration of this unity, and as a visible commitment to the covenant David is making as king of all the people, David establishes Jerusalem, a city located between the two countries, as the capital. Then, David, with 30,000 “chosen” men, surrounded by all the people, move the Ark of God, the symbol of God’s throne, the visible sign of God’s invisible presence, to the capital of this new united kingdom.

What David is doing is serious business. Uniting a divided people is serious business. Bringing peace to a war torn land is serious business. Being entrusted with the presence of God is serious business.

So David dances. Moved by God’s Holy Spirit, moved by the joy of knowing God’s presence in his heart, in his life, in his people people, moved by the joy of what God has done for them, David dances. David whole heartedly, unabashedly dances in glory to God.

Make a Joyful Noise!

And his wife mocks him. Actually, she despises him. Michal calls David vulgar for dancing with such enthusiasm and joy. She tells him that he has embarrassed himself in front of even the lowest of their people.

It is this fear, this fear of being mocked and not necessarily my Puritan roots, that often keeps me from dancing when the Spirit calls me to dance. Like all people, I don’t like feeling embarrassed, and I especially don’t want anyone to insinuate that I have been disrespectful to God, who I love with my whole heart. Fear keeps me from making a joyful noise. Fear keeps me from dancing with joy to the glory of God.

David knows no fear though. In response to Michal’s scorn, in response to her attempt to shame him for his joyful dance before God, David says ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet, baby.’ “I will make myself yet more contemptible than this.” (2 Samuel 6:22).

It reminds me of Paul’s words about the good news being foolishness to unbelievers and how he is proud to be a fool for Christ (1 Corinthians 4:10, 1:18, 1:27, 3:18).

Faith, thanksgiving, joy in God and joy in what God has done, make David dance and sing before the Lord. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, also sang and danced in joy and thanksgiving to God after God brought the Israelites safely out of Egypt and slavery. (Exodus 15:20-21)

James in his letter to the faithful tells us “Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” (James 5:13, NIV) Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

God created us to move. God created us to dance so why wouldn’t God also invite us to sing, move, and dance to the glory to God. Miriam did. David did. The whole house of Israel did on this amazing day of thanksgiving, unity, and peace.


Sitting in stillness to hear God’s voice is faithful, and so are dancing, singing, and moving as the Spirit moves us. Quiet and loud, at rest or dancing, all are ways to bring glory to God.

So as I invite you into moments of quiet stillness each week, I also invite you to the serious and faithful business of making a joyful noise. Clap your hands. Raise your voice. Praise God with trumpet sounds and lute and harp. Praise God with tambourine and dance. Praise God with strings and flute!

Make a Joyful Noise!

Stand up. Wave your arms. Stomp your feet. Shout Hallelujah! Move as the Spirit moves you.

Make a Joyful Noise!


In this season of Generosity, as people of deep and serious faith, we thank God for all the blessings of our lives, and out of joy, out of thanksgiving for what God has done for us, we offer our whole selves – our gifts of song, money, music, service, and dance. With everything we have, we give glory to God.


Make a Joyful Noise!

Make a Joyful Noise!

Make a Joyful Noise!


“Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6)