“When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon my heart I will dance as David danced!” It is a classic song that come from the story of David dancing in his undies through the streets. I spent all day today working on a chart for our worship team to play the awesome arrangement Fred Hammond did of this song. I am a huge Finale! fan, but sometimes I want to do things in it that aren’t possible. I did my whole chart and then I decided that I wanted the soprano voice to move down into the tenor part, in essence flipping over the inversion. However, I couldn’t figure out how to make the program do it automatically. I ended up giving in and spending about 45mins re-voicing all the chords in the song.
The way NCF-STL has been doing this song is an arrangement that has a Jewish Klezmer feel to it: imagine ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ It’s fun, kind-of. But Hammond’s arrangement gives it a pump of adrenaline. It also uses a strong funk groove, gospel harmonies, gospel choir cliche’s and lush jazz voicings. I don’t know where the song comes from, but I highly doubt that it has any origin in actual Jewish folk music. In our context, performing a song in a Klezmer style would be inappropriate. As far as I know, we have no Messianic Jews in our congregation, and if we did, they would probably not appreciate this song because it is not from their tradition at all. However, we are an urban church in the heart of the inner-city where performing hard-core funk and hot contemporary gospel is completely appropriate.
. . .Like David danced . . . Are we supposed to remove our clothes in worship? No, but David danced before the Lord removing his kingly robes, the symbols of his exalted political position. His wife, Michal, despised him for leaping and dancing with all his might. She wanted him to be more kingly. When the Holy Spirit fills your heart in worship, it brings humility. David humbled himself in worship of the Lord, and it inspired him to jump around like a child before the Lord.
I was at a Christmas party last month where a band was playing. None of the adults were very comfortable with dancing; we had way too much pride to embarrass ourselves. But there were two little girls who were twirling and leaping all night to the music. They felt safe and secure exposed in the middle of the dance floor. They knew that they didn’t have to impress anyone that night; they had no suave, cool reputation to protect.
I kind of imagine David dancing this way: completely resting in the joy of being accepted in God’s presence.
I hope people in the church feel like dancing when we play this song next week.