Thoughts for the Day

Saturday, 13th May 2023: How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord

Jesus Christ Church God Worship Psalm 84

Reading : Verses from Psalm 84


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....!

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)


It was lovely to hear both traditional and also modern music sung recently at King Charles III's Coronation Service. Sir Hubert Parry's 'I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the house of the Lord', always lifts one's soul with its sublimely soaring notes and and the thought of the heavenly Jerusalem that awaits all faithful Christians.

Psalm 84 has something of the same quality about it. The psalmist longs to be in God's house (ie the Temple) and when he is there his heart sings for joy. This kind of ecstatic fervour in the presence of the living God might put many of us to shame. Do we enter our own church with expectancy? Do we long to worship God? Does our heart sing for joy? Or are we 'swallowed up' by meeting friends or planning the next church event, rather than preparing to meet the living God in worship?

Sometimes it takes an empty church building, whether old or new, Norman or a tin chapel, to get a real feeling of God's presence where thousands have worshipped God. In the silence we can then sense the presence of those who have faithfully worshipped God in the past and who still do in the present, and turn to Him in joy.


Lord God of Hosts,
we long to lift our hearts
in worship to You.
Make us ever joyful when we
come into Your presence;
and may our spirits be uplifted
as we turn to You.
May we so long to be with You
that other things take second place.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to listen to Sir Hubert Parry's great anthem:

Or this lovely modern setting of a song based on the opening words of Psalm 84 by the ACTS quartet:

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