In the book of Genesis, we read many stories of people leaving their home and moving to an unfamiliar place. In chapter 12, the Lord tells Abraham to "Go to a land that I will show you." In this week's reading from Genesis 24, Abraham then sends his servant back to his hometown to get a wife for his son, Isaac. At the well, the servant is offered help by Rebekah, who turns out to be the appropriate wife for Isaac. Their son Jacob will also find a wife--well, two wives--in the former home of Abraham (Ch 29).
Psalm 45 is directed to a bride who is marrying the king. Yet, we can read it as being directed to any bride, "Forget your people and your father's house." That is, we can read it that way, but it's really hard today to imagine that any bride should be asked to break off any family contact and instead submit to her husband's authority--even if the exchange would result in lots of gifts and extravagant clothes.
I find more palatable the interpretation that God calls people to leave the comfortable and familiar to go to the uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Think of foreign missions, but don't restrict mission work to other countries. After all, there's plenty of unfamiliar places within easy driving distance of where we go to church--or, pretty likely, within walking distance.
I'm looking at verse 16 now, "In the place of ancestors, you ... shall have sons..." In the church we attend, we may hear, or say, "That's not the way we do it." Yet, it may be time to rethink the way we are used to and consider whether a new way might suit God better.