We count David as the human source of Christ’s Kingship. That sounds solemn. Even to be King of a scrap of a Kingdom – as Israel was then, in terms of population – is a heavy responsibility. Even to be father or mother of a family is a heavy responsibility, but we find time to play with our children and discover that the burden can be light as well.
David danced in front of the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6) as it was processed into Jerusalem. Saul’s daughter Michal, watching from the window, was disgusted with his performance.
It is too easy to despise play, but I am convinced that creation is God at play. There was no need for any of it, it is all gift: gift from God to himself, gift from God to each one of his creatures. And so we are called to give to each other, and playing is one sure way of giving our talents to one another, of giving time to one another, and indeed of helping each other to discover the talents we have been given.
And perhaps the dogs who eat on the floor beneath our tables can also teach us something about playing; not just throwing sticks, but also throwing ourselves into our relationships with other people – and with God.