Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

11/30 2012

How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place


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I opened up the daily lectionary to find one of the readings to be from Psalms 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.” (verses 1-2)

How lovely is your dwelling place.

The first image that comes to the forefront is a physical structure bound and defined by walls and a ceiling, complete with doors that stay open or close and chairs to accommodate a set number of people.  A building perhaps with a steeple that stretches to the sky like a compass, guiding our eyes and our prayers true north when we need to find our way back home.

Yet like all compasses, it is not the home, itself is not the destination, only a tool to point the way our feet are supposed to go and a place where the gathered Church can worship and commune.  And though God does dwell among us in that space I don’t think it’s meant to or even can confine the Divine. Many times as I descend a sanctuary’s steps as the church members scatter, I find myself wondering how many of us, myself included, are keeping God detained for use as a proverbial water bottle; it may relieve our thirst but we never cease to be parched if we perpetuate only taking sips.

How lovely is your dwelling place.

So then, what is this place where the Lord dwells?

Well, it’s in us.  In our hearts and flesh that shouldn’t quiet from singing for joy when we cross over the threshold into the world.  We are supposed to be the vehicles and instruments of God’s love because that Love is to be dwelling inside us. Living and breathing. And lovely, not from anything of our own invention, for no matter how beautiful our facades are, what makes it lovely is a God who has removed my transgressions as far as the east is from the west.  That my soul thirsts and heart sings for. That is what makes it lovely.

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!