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.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
(Psalm 84:1-2, 8)
God reminds them that not everybody who purports to be speaking the word of the Lord is.
Further, the listeners had not listened to the prophets who were speaking the truth.
Disaster is coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-17
The lesson from 2 Thessalonians was written to caution those new Christians not to be unduly disturbed by what had to happen before the culmination and what was required while waiting.
Waiting was not, and still isn't, easy, especially when the waiting is taking place during times of disturbance. In the 2010 edition of The Upper Room Disciplines, Bishop Gregory Palmer writes:
When change, fear, or anxiety come, we must keep this in mind: God's great love, God's salvation, and God's faithfulness will lead us to confidence, growth, and the peace that abides in God's arms. Our purpose does not change. The tools we employ may vary. But our purpose--to be a sign of God's love and reign in this world--is unchanging.Psalm 84:1-12
Here is a psalm that describes the joy of being able to worship in the temple, the longing to be there. I can't help but think about those Sunday mornings when we still had young children at home to get ready for church and wondering if the words of this psalm describe what I was thinking. Or, what am I thinking on a typical Sunday morning now? Does my soul long, indeed faint for the place? Do I sing for joy to the living God? Well, sometimes, I think so.
But this psalm is about more than looking forward to occasional attendance at a formal worship service. It is also about what happens to us because we have experienced the presence of God. The psalmist describes the path toward the house of God: "As they go through the valley of Baca (read this to mean a place of thirst), they make it a place of springs."
So, another question is raised by this psalm: Does the thought of attending church at the end of this week affect the way I go through the week? As I go through areas that lack something, do I work to fill the need? Or, do I even notice those needs?
And, when I do get to church and look around, who is there? Who feels welcome? Who is no longer there? Why?
With patience a ruler may be persuaded,
and a soft tongue can break bones.
Prayer for Today: O Lord, guide us into welcoming others into your dwelling place. Amen.