Dancing Before the Lord with Wild Abandonment

Contributed by A. Merril Smoak, Jr., Dean of the Jubilee School

If you Google the adjective “abandoned” you will find two definitions:

  1. having been deserted or cast off – “an abandoned car”
  2. unrestrained; uninhibited – “a wild, abandoned dance”

This article will reflect on the second definition as it relates to the Old Testament story of King David recorded in 2 Samuel, chapter 6.

The phrase “a wild, abandoned dance” immediately reminds us of the story of King David dancing before the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant is brought into the ancient city of Jerusalem. His dancing before the Lord can certainly be described as “unrestrained” and “uninhibited.” This celebration event is recorded in chapter 6 of 2 Samuel. Here are the key verses:

5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, …

14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.

21 David said to Michal, “… I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.”

This was a joyous event that demanded a huge celebration. The Ark of God, the box overlaid with gold that contained the original Ten Commandment stone tablets, was being brought into David’s city Jerusalem. King David led the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the celebration by dancing before the Lord “with all his might.” This phrase “with all his might” suggests that the King was “unrestrained” and “uninhibited” in his dance before the Lord. It was a “wild, abandoned dance.”

That David was not intimidated or worried about what others thought of his dancing is reflected in his response to the criticism by Saul’s daughter Michal. Notice his twofold response to Michal’s criticism:

  1. “It was before the Lord” and “I will celebrate before the Lord”
  2. “I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.”

His dancing was worship directed to God during this time of celebration. He was not concerned with what others thought about his worship actions. Reflecting on this story worship leader Matt Redman shares these thoughts:

Going back to that day in Jerusalem, the dancing King David was totally consumed with God and unaware of himself. He didn’t care who was watching or what they might think. He was an adoring heart, worshipping with all his might.

That’s what King David’s frenzied dancing was all about. It wasn’t a show; nor was it just adrenaline or hype. It was an overflow of the abundance of love for God that was in his heart.[1]

Amen!

But we must also remember that King David was leading in worship. His wild abandoned dance before the Lord was an example for others to follow. Are you a worship leader? Do you lead a group of people in singing praises to God? Please remember that people are watching and hopefully following your worship actions.

Will our worship this coming Sunday be an overflow of the abundance of love for God that is in our hearts?[2] Maybe we should follow David’s example and think about these adjectives as we prepare for worship this coming Sunday:

unrestrained & uninhibited – “a wild, abandoned dance”

May all of our worship be like this “with all our might.”


  • [1] Redman, Matt, The Unquenchable Worshipper: Coming Back to the Heart of Worship (Ventura: Regal Books, 2001), 47.?
  • [2] Ibid.?

Abandoned Hymns Bring New Life to Our Christian Worship Music

Contributed by A. Merril Smoak, Jr., Dean of the Jubilee School

If you Google the adjective “abandoned” you will find two definitions:

  1. having been deserted or cast off – “an abandoned car”
  2. unrestrained; uninhibited – “a wild, abandoned dance”

This article will examine the first definition of “abandoned” as it relates to hymns, praise choruses, and contemporary praise & worship music. Abandoned: Part 2 will examine the second definition of “abandoned” as it relates to the Old Testament story of King David found in 2 Samuel, chapter 6.

In thinking about the word “abandoned” in relation to our Christian hymns I wrote these words back in 1988:

Growing numbers of our congregations are abandoning the hymnal and singing only praise choruses; others use a combination of both. Are these praise choruses merely a passing fad, or are some of them destined to become a part of our hymnic repertoire?[1]

Yes, during the 1970’s and 1980’s there was a growing trend in worship music to “abandon” and “cast off” the use of traditional hymns and replace them with praise choruses and the emerging contemporary praise & worship songs. This trend was both good and unfortunate. In a good way praise choruses such as “Seek Ye First” (1972), “Jesus, Name Above All Names” (1974), “Glorify Thy Name” (1976), and “In My Life, Lord, Be Glorified” (1978) ushered in a refreshing musical change for the youth and young adults that were becoming Christians. Accompanied by acoustic guitars these simple praise choruses were often based upon scripture and were easy to learn. In the 1980’s the praise & worship movement got its start with familiar worship songs such as “Majesty” (1981), “How Majestic Is Your Name” (1981), and culminated in 1989 with “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.” These new praise & worship songs were also a refreshing musical change that helped us re-focus our attention on the importance of worship. This change continued into the 1990’s with popular contemporary praise & worship songs such as “Shout to the Lord” (1994). Unfortunately, in many places of worship, our rich treasury of traditional hymns and gospel hymns were abandoned for the new praise choruses and contemporary worship music. It was even suggested in some locations that your church would not grow if you did not replace hymn singing with these new worship songs.

In reality, hymns were never totally abandoned. Some churches in the 1980’s and 1990’s continued to sing only hymns while some churches blended together the singing of hymns, praise choruses, and contemporary praise & worship songs. But a change was coming that would breathe new life into abandoned hymns. Contemporary worship leaders such as David Crowder and Chris Tomlin began to arrange and record hymns in the new contemporary praise & worship musical style. Here are some examples:

  • “Come Thou Fount”
  • David Crower, “All I Can Say” album (1999)
  • “The Wonderful Cross (When I survey the wondrous cross)”

Chris Tomlin, “The Noise We Make” album (2001)

  • “All Creatures of Our God and King”

David Crowder, “Can You Hear Us? album (2002)

  • “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”

Chris Tomlin, “See the Morning” album (2006)

These hymns were revived with new chords, musical refrains (bridges), and worship band accompaniment. Today one of the most popular and often sung revived hymns is Edward Mote’s (1797-1874) early 19th century hymn “My hope is built on nothing less” also known by the title “The Solid Rock”:

  • “Cornerstone (My hope is built on nothing less)”
  • Hillsong Worship, “Cornerstone” album (2012)

Unfortunately, the praise choruses of the 1970’s and the early praise & worship songs of the 1980’s have largely passed from common use in today’s worship services. Although, these worship songs are very much remembered and cherished by the Baby Boomer generation. There is one praise & worship song from the 1980’s that is still being sung today by Christians around the world: “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High”[2] published by Maranatha Music in 1989 has not been abandoned. I believe that this worship song has not been cast off because the lyrics clearly state the Gospel story of Jesus, our Lord and Savior:

You came from heaven to earth to show the way,
From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay,
From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky,
Lord I lift Your name on high.[3]
Amen!

Here is another reality. There is no need to “abandon” or “cast off” traditional hymns, praise choruses, or contemporary praise & worship songs for new types and styles of worship songs that will be written in the future. As worship leaders today we have the joy and opportunity to choose the best of these worship song genres and lead our people in lifting the Lord’s name on high. May we sing with “unrestrained” and “uninhibited” abandonment to our Lord!

Lord I lift Your name on high,
Lord I love to sing Your praises,
I’m so glad You’re in my life,
I’m so glad You came to save us.[4]


  • [1] Smoak, Jr., A. Merril, “From the Gospel hymn to the Praise Chorus: Considerations for the New Baptist Hymnal,” Southern Baptist Music Journal, Volume, 5, 1988.?
  • [2] Founds, Rick, Lord, I Lift Your Name on High, Maranatha Music, 1989.?
  • [3] Ibid.?
  • [4] Ibid.?

2022 Summer Song Camp Schedule Announced

The 2022 summer song camp schedule has been announced. This summer song camp will be held from August 8th to 19th, excluding weekends and Sundays.

The song camp schedule will be delivered to Jubilee School graduates and current students for two days today and tomorrow, and applications for participation are accepted until August 5.

Many gracious songs have been made over the years through Song Camp. Now, a foothold in another dimension of music mission is being built. A good example is the Worship Album Project, which is being conducted jointly by the Chapel Worship Band, the School, and the Jubilee Church Worship Band.

We hope that great quality Christian songs will be created through this song camp as well.

2022 Summer Quarter begins

The 2022 Summer quarter started with orientation on 5th July.

Although the number of subjects and students in the summer quarter is relatively small compared to other quarters, it is held with various events every year, showing more exciting activities than any other quarter.

As of this year, the summer song camp will be held during the summer quarter. In addition, various evangelistic activities of the Chapel Worship Band are also planned, raising expectations for the activity.

Summer heat is getting warmer. However, Jubilee School’s heat of praise will swallow up all that heat.

History of Independence Day

The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues. The Fourth of July 2022 is on Monday, July 4, 2022.

History of Independence Day
When the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical.

By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in the bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published by Thomas Paine in early 1776.

On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence.

Amid heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution, but appointed a five-man committee—including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York—to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

On July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.

Excerpt from ‘history.com’

2022 Spring Quarter is Over

All classes for the 2022 Spring Quarter ended on June 15th. Then, from June 16th to 22nd, the final exam period began.

This spring quarter was not an easy period for academics and school management. This is because the overall Covid infection rate was on the rise again. However, due to the strict observance of quarantine principles by students and faculty, this quarter was successfully completed without a single confirmed case among students and faculty.

In response, the dean delivered a message of gratitude to all the students and faculty, and urged them to do their best for the rest of the final exam period and reap the beauty of their lives.

Summer Quarter begins soon. There are students who enjoy vacation in the Summer Quarter, but the Christian Song Camp and concerts of professors and students are scheduled to take place in addition to their studies, so the anticipation is rising from now on.

The Hymn Amazing Grace: New Testament Language Based Upon Old Testament Scripture

Contributed by Dr. A. Merril Smoak, Jr., Dean, Jubilee School

In his hymn Amazing grace! how sweet the sound John Newton used several New Testament sounding words and phrases to describe his Christian salvation experience:

     Amazing grace! how sweet the sound         [stanza one]

     That saved a wretch like me!

     How precious did that grace appear          [stanza two]

     The hour I first believed.

     ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,    [stanza three]

     And grace will lead me home.

It is a little known fact that this well-know Christian hymn is actually based upon Old Testament scripture verses, specifically 1 Chronicles chapter 17, verses 16 and 17. This is a good reminder for worship leaders and Christian song writers today. Our new contemporary praise and worship songs must be based upon scriptures found in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound was written and first published in 1779 by British pastor and former slave ship captain John Newton (1725-1807). While serving at the church in Olney England Newton and his friend William Cowper (1731-1800) published a hymn collection entitled OLNEY HYMNS, IN THREE BOOKS. Amazing grace! how sweet the sound is hymn number 41 in this collection. In the Preface to OLNEY HYMNS Newton makes this statement concerning the arrangement of the hymns in the collection:

These hymns are distributed in three Books. In the first I have classed those which are formed upon select passages of Scripture, and placed them in the order of the Books of the Old and New Testament.

In OLNEY HYMNS the original six stanzas of Amazing grace! how sweet the sound were placed in “BOOK I. ON SELECTED PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE” with the heading:

I. CHRONICLES

XLI. Faith’s review and expectations.

Chap. xvii. 16. 17.

Thus the words of John Newton’s famous hymn are based upon scripture verses found in First Chronicles, chapter 17, verses 16 and 17. It is interesting to ponder what Newton had in mind when he chose the words of king David’s prayer found in 1 Chronicles 17:16-17 to describe his Christian salvation experience in his hymn Amazing grace! how sweet the sound:

16 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? 17 And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O God; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the rank of a man of high degree, O Lord God.

In chapter 17 of 1 Chronicles the prophet Nathan tells David that God will not allow him to build a permanent house for the ark of the covenant that has been dwelling in a tent. Instead God has chosen one of David’s sons to build a house for the ark of the covenant. Nathan explains to David what will happen in verses 11-12:

11 And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever.

The immediate result of this prophecy is that David’s son Solomon will build a temple in Jerusalem that will house the ark. But more importantly Nathan’s words hint that the coming Messiah, King Jesus, will be from David’s lineage: “I will establish his throne forever.” (verse 12). Unknowingly David also hints at the coming of Jesus through his family line in verse 17: “and You have also spoke of Your servant’s house for a great while to come.”

Yes, David was disappointed that he would not be allowed to build the temple. But in verses 16 and 17 he wonderfully proclaims his faith and trust in the God who has chosen him to be king in Israel. Through David’s seed God’s forever house, Jesus, will be established. With this Old Testament story in mind John Newton also writes about his faith and trust in the God who has chosen him to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ through preaching and hymn writing:

     Amazing grace!  (how sweet the sound)

     That sav’d a wretch like me!

     I once was lost, but now am found,

     Was blind, but now I see.

Both David and John Newton were men who struggled to consistently walk in God’s ways. Both men were sinners who were saved by God’s amazing grace. The sixth and final stanza of the hymn Amazing grace! how sweet the sound is a fitting epitaph for remembering both of these men who experienced God’s amazing grace:

     The earth will soon dissolve like snow,

     The sun forbear to shine;

     But God, who called me [David & John Newton] here below,

     Will be forever mine.

May each of us also experience and know God’s amazing grace!

The Origins of Memorial Day

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the
Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the
graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared it should be May 30. It is believed the
date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The ceremonies centered around the mourning- draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan
Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

Local Observances Claim To Be First

Local springtime tributes to the Civil War dead already had been held in various places. One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in
battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well. Today, cities in the North and the South claim to
be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first
Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866. Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead
were buried.

Official Birthplace Declared

In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local
veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community- wide or one-time events. By the end of the 19th century,
Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities. It was not until after World War I,
however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday
in May, as were some other federal holidays.

Some States Have Confederate Observances

Many Southern states also have their own days for honoring the Confederate dead. Mississippi celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, and Georgia on April 26. North and South Carolina
observe it on May 10, Louisiana on June 3 and Tennessee calls that date Confederate Decoration Day. Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day January 19 and Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day.

Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

The crowd attending the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was approximately the same size as those that attend today’s observance, about 5,000 people. Then, as now, small American flags were placed on each grave — a tradition followed at many national cemeteries today. In recent years, the custom has grown in many families to decorate the graves of all departed loved ones.

The origins of special services to honor those who die in war can be found in antiquity. The Athenian leader Pericles offered a tribute to the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War over 24 centuries ago that could be applied today to the 1.1 million Americans who have died in the nation’s wars: “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone
but in the hearts of men.”

To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

From U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Spring 2022 Orientation

On the 4th, there was an orientation for this Spring Quarter.

In addition to the subject introduction, through this orientation, Jubilee School Director Kwon shared with the students in detail the direction of the school’s development for the next 1 or 2 years.

There were two key points. The first was ‘Applied Christian Music’ and the second was ‘Summer Songwriting Camp’.

Through this orientation, Jubilee School gave students an accurate understanding of ‘Applied Music’ and explained to them what ‘Applied Christian Music’ that Jubilee School aims for and how education is conducted.

In addition, we had time to introduce the more advanced ‘Songwriting Camp’.

Details can be found in the distributed brochure.

The 2022 Winter Quarter has been successfully completed.

On March 22nd, the 2022 Winter Quarter was successfully completed.

At the same time, the Office of Student Affairs made a surprising announcement. According to the Office of Student Affairs, students’ class satisfaction and academic achievement, based on the professor’s evaluation report, recorded an all-time high this winter quarter.

In particular, some of the theoretical subjects that introduced new teaching methods showed outstanding results.

The professors in charge of the theory course applied a teaching method that combines the theory of cognitive science in this winter quarter so that students can effectively acquire music theories.

The core of the new teaching method they applied is ‘output-practice’ and ‘time-interval’. ‘Output-practice’ is to get students to use the theory they have learned. To this end, the faculty allowed students to take time to teach the theory they had learned to others. In addition, the professors applied the ‘pomodoro’ technique to maximize the ‘first effect’ and ‘latest effect’ to maximize the students’ concentration.

This teaching method aims to study in a way that suits the mechanisms of the brain.

This has been talked about since last year’s teaching seminar. The professors designed the class so that it can be applied to the actual class and applied it this time. And that effort paid off well.

We would like to express my gratitude to the professors who worked hard and to the students who did their best to participate in the study.