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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Today’s Reading | 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.

Happy are those whose strength is in you,
     in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca
     they make it a place of springs;
     the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
     the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

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 favor and honor.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
     from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
     happy is everyone who trusts in you. (NRSV)


Reflection

“Let’s take a step back” were the words often spoken by a mentor of mine as we tried to solve a problem. This gentle nudge from a more experienced colleague was certainly an exercise in refocusing oneself when locked into a seemingly fruitless path. Many times we achieved a greater awareness that led to a solution.

Chances are we can all benefit from stepping back and gaining a new perspective from time to time. Reading today’s scripture did that for me. Just in time for Lent.

Too often in our “always on” culture we become overburdened with distractions, competing needs, or, worse, the dark works that are nothing more than evil in this world. It can be too much, even when strong in faith, to stay focused on the right path. Moreover, we can easily become adrift in our spirituality with each such day turning into weeks, months, or longer. It is at this point we need to see the other possibilities for our spiritual lives.

Fortunately, the psalmist in today’s scripture sings with such a joy and yearning that the song is contagiously motivating. Yes, there is a sense of a journey that is not always easy, but that is our lives. It is the psalmist’s resounding declaration that ultimately gives hope: we are blessed and provided with strength by persevering and worshiping in the way of the Lord.

Where do you stand during this season of Lent? Need to step back? I do, otherwise I might just miss out on Easter! I’m grateful, however, that the psalmist offers a new perspective. It is one that leads us away from worldly distractions and brings us to a place full of joy and blessings as we worship the Lord God Almighty.


Prayer

Dear God, I yearn to worship in your courts and seek your blessings. Help me to realize that I often become distracted and need your help to set me on the right path. Guide me as I prepare for the coming celebration that is the death and resurrection of your Son, the living Christ! Amen.


Written by Ken Walker, member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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