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Saturday, September 14, 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)


What a gift this psalm is. The writer is able to attach words to profound feelings, to bring us to a place of recognition and understanding about our deepest needs and sorrows and ultimately about the transforming power of God. We all have gone through the valley of Baca on the journey to Zion. “From strength to strength,” through God’s love and grace, we manage to emerge with joy and singing as never before. Weakness, defeat, and suffering are showered with a refreshing early rain and then nurtured with the sun and shield of God. And we come home.  “Even the sparrow finds a home.” As the hymn “God of the Sparrow” asks, how does the creature say thanks and how do God’s children say home?


O God, in the midst of whatever struggles face me today, grant me the attentiveness and patience to move beyond them, trusting in your love and guidance, in your transforming power to bring me home. Amen.

Written by Barbara Cleveland, Executive Assistant

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