Friday, March 22, 2013

David's Dance and the Triumphal Entry

Here's something that might help anyone preparing for Palm Sunday.

I ran across a marvelous piece from St. Methodius (d. 311) the other day as I was perusing NPNF, on the Procession of Palms.  In it he mentions several ways in which Palm Sunday fulfills prophecy; and there's one in particular that I found especially helpful.  Methodius sees in the dance of David before the ark of the LORD a prefiguring of the little children spreading their palm branches in jubilation before Jesus as he enters Jerusalem.  The writer mentions it only briefly, as is the case with many of the Fathers, but it certainly got me thinking.

His reference is helpful on at least two levels.  First, it shows yet again how all the Scriptures are fulfilled in Jesus; they are all to be seen Christologically (read St. Luke 24 again if you don't believe me), and in addition, it provides an answer to people who have falsely seen in David's dance a Biblical warrant for liturgical dance, or for the use of rock music etc. in church.  Of course one can easily say (as I have often said) that David was not dancing in the synagogue or in the Temple, so, no, one can't translate David's dance into a case for contemporary worship.  But now I see in David's dance something else, namely blueprint not for CoWo, but for the Triumphal Entry of Palm Sunday.  David dances before the ark in procession; the children celebrate before the Christ in procession.  David exults before the presence of God; the children rejoice before Jesus.  David's dance is with all his might; the children spread even their garments in the way.  Search the Scriptures.  They testify of Christ.


  1. Do you have any suggestions as to costumes I could use for the liturgical dance segment of the palm Sunday liturgy?

    1. Apparently there is a brand of jeans called "True Religion."

      or just use Levi's. They've been an old standby for liturgical use since... oh... before the fall of the southern kingdom.


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