How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and 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.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah
Blessed 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;
each one appears before God in Zion.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
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 dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you! – Psalm 84
Our cruise has been a mixture of fun and active excursions, and beautiful sights, down time, and fun distractions of entertainment, games and dining. Way too much dining to be sure. We’ve enjoyed three shows in the ship’s theater. After the first two we exited through the ship’s casino with its glitter, exciting lights, laughter, bells and buzzers. We figured out a passageway that avoided the casino the third night.
The bells and lights, glamor and laughter cover over the groans of losses and disappointment that must be stifled in order to keep the casino running as it does. The house never loses – even when it loses.
This was my thought today when I read this psalm. Indeed, “A day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” When I was a youth, I took on a self-assigned task at the end of each church service to help open the doors and engage a mechanism to keep them open. Once I suffered a severely mashed finger when a door was carelessly let fly as I was opening its twin. I resumed my self-assigned duties the next Sunday – although a bit more cautiously. It was something I felt honored to do.
Today I have the privilege of serving as a doorkeeper of a different sort. It is my hope that I am able to serve as one who opens the doors of God’s kingdom to others as we gather for worship. Through preaching, teaching, prayer, and sacrament, I have the privilege of opening the doors of God’s grace for all people. Even as the sparrow and swallow have found a home in the house of the Lord, God delights when we find our true home there.
If I may ever open that door to you it would be my great privilege.