ISSL Reflections October 24 2021 Psalm 84 Post 2

This Psalm sure seems to speak a lot about the “place” it references – the physical location of singing, praying, and praising.

Does it seem that way to you?

As you spend time with the Psalm today, pay attention to the “place” (and places) it names.

Psalm 84 (NRSV)

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.

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.

Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.Selah

Happy 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;
the God of gods will be seen 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 live in the tents of wickedness.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.

O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

Door, courts, what else names a place,

What do you think those singing the Psalm with the Psalmist so many centuries ago have in their minds as they sang. What would they see either around them, or in their mind’s eye.
Where would they be, or want to be?

I guess you could remind me that all those questions could be answered differently depending on the Psalm being sung in the era of a wilderness tabernacle, or Solomon’s Temple, of post-temple exile, of synagogue centered life in exile or in post-exile Israel, or of Herod’s Temple, or of post Second Temple or in the diaspora.

And you would be right.

As the Psalm is sung are their thoughts about the place in which they sing and praise or could their song also have grief for a place they no longer inhabit?

What of you and me? Do you know a place of praise and worship you no longer can reach? A place beyond your reach?

How do you still worship and praise if “that” place is lost?

{ubi caritas et amor, Desu ibi est}

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