After last week’s discussion about avoiding ‘fear’ in the pursuit of wisdom, this psalm rings with warm, positive poetic images:
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O God.
And later, in this short psalm:
10 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.
11 For God is a sun and shield who bestows favour and honour. No good thing does God withhold from those who walk uprightly.
The Korahite authors, in a sponsored message from these songwriters to the King, no doubt had the Temple or the inner sanctum of the established priestly order in mind. In present times, might we not imagine that the ‘dwelling place’ and the ‘courts’ of divine holiness are wherever one finds the spirit of peace and love? After all, the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest to lay her young — truly holy places. As Isaac Everett says:
It’s good to have songs for entering temples and cathedrals, but when we see God in ourselves and in each other, we’re gazing at something just as lovely. (TEP page 166)
HARINGTON, adapted from the old Scottish psalter of 1650, is a sound choice from Together in Song no 44. However, locally we turn for a responsive singing of this song to a simple refrain adapted from a tune by Marty Haugen in New Century Hymnal: