Friday, August 24 2018
How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee (Psalm 84 2-4 KJV).
Thousands of years ago, Pilgrims who were coming into Jerusalem after a long journey might sing or recite this psalm as they entered the city. To the Pilgrim, giving of oneself on the journey for the purpose of experiencing communion with God produced a feeling of shalom. Psalm 84 is a profession of a deep faith and longing for God. It is a psalm about the deep experience of well-being, peace, and joy that one feels in the presence of the living God.
We can experience this feeling of peace by a steadfast love of God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Marvin Tate said, "Visible actions become the means of grace and revelation of the real presence of God." On Sunday, we will pray, "My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God." We are drawn to St. John's by the hesed (steadfast love) of God. We respond to that love by coming to church, hearing the Word of God, giving praise to God, and experiencing God's presence at the Holy Eucharist. We are then sent out in the world to share that love with our neighbors and to bring others back to an experience of the living God. When we follow the will and purpose of God, our lives are filled with the peace that passeth all understanding. We come to church humble in heart, full of praise, and yearning for another taste of the living God.