Thoughts for the Day

Saturday, 13th April 2024: How lovely is Your church, O Lord

Church Temple Worship Psalm 84

Reading : Verses from Psalm 84

St James Church

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise...

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favour and honour.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


The opening of Psalm 84 drips with longing - longing to be in the Temple and to sing the praises of the living God. The writer is a Korahite temple singer seemingly away from Jerusalem. Just as the sparrow finds a home in the Temple roof, so he thinks of the Temple as his home, the place where he is happiest. Perhaps the most lovely words are those in the last stanza: "For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere."

Today we use the word 'Church' in two different ways. It can be the 'the building' that we see at the centre or edge of the village or town, but it can also be 'the congregation' who go the building to worship God. In the UK numbers in many congregations are dropping, not just because of covid for they were dropping before that. Somehow the pressures of life have pushed out the need for worship.

Perhaps we need to to look at the joy of worshipping God together once more. Do we write the time of the Church services in our diary? Do we pray for those leading the services? Do we treat worship as more important than shopping or housework. After all being a Christian is always to be a person in community. It's not possible to be a solitary Christian, for we need to mix with others to learn, to grow in faith, to give and take, and to experience the joy of worshipping together.


we praise You and worship You
and love to be in the precious space
of Your church,
but all too often we can make excuses
and find other things to do.
Help us to rethink our priorities
this day and in the days to come.

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