Easter Workshop 1980
SYMBOLIC MOVEMENT IN THE DAVIDIC TABERNACLE
(John and Linda Skinner)
1) Windows in the Temple
The Psalms act as a window for us, through which we can look, and watch the people of God in the act of worship. True worship for the people of God, involved offering up their whole experience of life, to God, for in faith, they realized he was behind their experience, and present in it.
And so in doing the Psalms, we find not only expressions of praise, adoration and thanksgiving, but also expressions of sadness, loneliness and even anger. The whole life was offered to God, to be used for His glory.
2) Temple Worship
The People of God held festivals through which they reconnected, symbolically, significant moments in their history when they had experienced God’s saving presence: The Passover, The Feast of Weeks, The Feast of the Tabernacle.
Although each feast had its own special theme, they had similar characteristics which the Psalms were used to express:
a) They remembered what God had done for them in the past.
b) They sang, danced, and praised in a loving response to all of God’s action on their behalf.
c) They recited the stories of all that God had done for them, and reenacted these stories in SYMBOLIC MOVEMENTS.
d) They met in order to renew the Covenant God had made with them. This could not be done by those who were serving other “gods,” or by those who were living in disobedience.
e) Each time the people reenacted the past actions of God, they believed that He was again vitally present with them.
f) They left worship resolved to obey God in every area of their lives.
3) Symbolic Movement in Worship
In the Psalms we read of many symbolic movements which people performed in worship. Such actions could prevent the people from actually worshipping God, as the prophets pointed out Amos 5:21, but on the whole these actions were a help rather than a hindrance.
a) Marching in procession of God. 68v24
b) Carrying the Ark of the Covenant. 132v8
c) They danced. 149v3.
d) Offered sacrifices. 20v3
e) Incense was burned. 141v2
f) They prostrated themselves or knelt on the ground. 95v6
g) They washed themselves. 26v6
h) Clapped. 47v1
i) Shouted and sang songs. 47v1
j) Drank from a cup. 116v13
k) They ate together. 23v5
l) Musical instruments were played.
4. Symbolic Movements in Worship Today
All Christians, whether they realize it or not, use various kinds of symbolic movements in their worship, kneeling, or bowing one’s head to pray, the kiss of peace, making the sign of the cross, raising the hands, clapping, dancing, and of course the Holy Communion, and Baptism. The danger with all these actions is that we forget our intentions, and lose the meaning behind them.
However, many Christians today, are experiencing the desire to receive from the Holy Spirit new songs, dances, and prayers, and symbolic movements that glorify God our Father, and Jesus our Lord, and that realize that saving presence of God among us.
5. Waiting on God for New Psalms
Everything we receive from God, we do so through Faith, and therefore we shouldn’t expect our new psalms to drop out of the sky gift wrapped. Yet the Holy Spirit does long for us to receive new psalms that will bring glory to Jesus, and God our Father. And so the Holy Spirit, who inspired the writings and drama of the 150 Psalms in the Bible, will inspire us to create new psalms, in the same spirit as them.
There fore our new psalms will have similar characteristic:
a) They will arise out of an actual situation that people are experiencing at the time.
b) They will point to the activity of God in that situation, (in the light of their knowledge that God’s activity was fully seen in Jesus.)
c) They will provide a response to God, where worshippers can express themselves fully, in singing, and in movement.
d) They will edify all the worshippers, and not just those taking an active part.
Sharing a New Psalm J&L
Group receives from God a new Psalm.
THEREFORE, MY BROTHERS, I IMPLORE YOU BY GOD’S MERCY TO OFFER YOUR VERY SELVES TO HIM, A LIVING SACRIFICE, DEDICATED AND FIT FOR HIS ACCEPTANCE, THE WORSHIP OFFERED BY MIND AND HEART.
ROM.12. v1-2 NEB.