MONDAY MEDITATION: Thee, Thou, Thine (February 13)

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. — 2 Samuel 6:13

The God-culture I grew up in didn’t take the divine name too lightly. “Thee, thou, thine.” Those were the words, fresh from the King James Version, that you used if you were to write a hymn, for example. “Have thine own way, Lord” sounded better as a hymn than “Have it your way, Lord.” Such language showed reverence and respect.

Prayers and litanies also used this verbage. I still remember the old language from a communion ritual: “We have sinned against thine divine majesty…and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness.” I don’t remember exactly what those sins were, but I bewailed them.

Don’t hear such language much today in church, do you? God has become a lot more familiar. “You, your, yours.” Saying the old language now sounds foreign, stiff, unauthentic.

And that’s good, I think. The fewer things we erect to keep from bringing our real selves to God, the better. Sure, God is always “out there:” there’s an otherness and transcendence about the Lord that always requires a bowing of the knee and a confession of weakness. But if Jesus called God “Daddy,” then Daddy wants us to be authentic children who can jump on the divine back for a horsie ride. I can’t see a four year old saying, “Father, might I jump upon thine back?”

Michal, King Saul’s daughter who was in an arranged marriage with David, saw David being uninhibited in worshipping God, taking off his formal bulky robes so he could more freely dance and sing. The sight nauseated her. He should have been in robes, looking honorable and respected as the anointed one of Yahweh Almighty. Later she complained to him, “How did Israel’s king honor himself today? By exposing himself in plain view of the female servants of his subjects like any indecent person would!” (2 Samuel 6:20)

Enough about the artificial formalities that keep the focus more on us and keep the intimacy-wanting God at a distance.