Summary: David becomes king over all Israel. He brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem with song making Jerusalem a place of worship.
“Celebrate” 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 6:1-5
Today is a day of Celebration. Our scripture reading for today celebrates David’s anointing as king of Israel and his bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Historically this is Reformation Sunday—a day when we celebrate Martin Luther and the start of the reformation. It is also a special day for several of our young people. It is a day of baptisms and first communions.
After a decade or more of waiting God finally keeps his promise to David and David is anointed King over all of Israel. During those years David had journeyed from the high point of serving in King Saul’s court and leading Israel’s armies, to the low points of being hunted by Saul and rejected by the people. These were formative years for David. God used them to mold and shape David into the benevolent king that he became.
In the story that we have today, David is solidifying his rule. He is bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The political and religious powers of Israel are combined.
David and all of Israel celebrate. David really celebrates—he dances before the Lord with all of his might. He didn’t just stand and say “Thank you, Lord.” David waved his arms, kicked up his heels and sang God’s praises.
David was celebrating God’s grace. God had lifted him up to be king due simply to God’s will. David had done nothing to be so honored. David was a low class shepherd boy.
David was also celebrating God’s presence. God was believed to be present in the Ark, so God was present in Jerusalem with David.
WE CELEBRATE MARTIN LUTHER AND THE REFORMATION
The church had become an institution of control. The church hierarchy proclaimed that the people were sinners, that they were going to hell and that they needed to support the work of the church. The church grew richer and the people grew poorer.
Martin Luther was one of the people who feared for his eternal salvation. Whatever he did, however, was not good enough to please God and assure Martin of his salvation. It was only when he was studying the scriptures and stumbled across the verses, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17), and “You are saved by grace through faith and this is a gift” (Ephesians 2:2-9), that Luther began to understand God’s love and grace. Righteousness was not the result of our efforts, but was a gift from God because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
The celebration of God’s love and grace was picked up by thousands. The Spirit of God used Martin Luther along with the other leaders of the reformation, John Calvin and Charles Zwingli to transformed the church and change it from an institution that used fear to control, to a movement that used love to inspire.
There were times when Martin Luther struggled. He was a fugitive and lived in exile for a time. He stood against the wrath of the church and struggle with bouts of depression. During these times Martin Luther would remember his baptism and the gifts of God’s love, grace and salvation that he received at this baptism. In the waters of his baptism, Luther would celebrate.
THE CELEBRATION OF BAPTISM AND COMMUNION
Today five young people are being baptized. Eight children are celebrating their First Communion. We join them in their celebration and that of their families. We celebrate what God is doing in their lives and what God has done in our lives.
As water is a gift to a dry and thirsty land, so baptism is a gift to our dry and thirsty lives. About 400 years after Jesus, a bishop named Augustine (354-430) identified this truth. His most famous book is his spiritual autobiography, called Confessions. The third sentence into his book says this: “Lord, you have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”
Though it may not look like it, but God is doing great things at the time of our baptism. God is washing us, making us new, filling us with the Holy Spirit and adopting us as his sons and daughters. God is saying to these young people, “You are my sons and daughters. I am pleased with you. I love you and I will always be with you.”
These words are repeated as we come to the Lord’s Table to eat and drink. The Lord speaks to us reminding us of the relationship with God that we have been given. God assures us that we are loved and that nothing is able to separate us for God’s love.
Standing firmly in God’s grace we can live free and abundant lives as we share God’s blessings and serve our neighbor.
Truly today is a day to celebrate. God has done great things.