The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.
Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger,
you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will take me up.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they are breathing out violence.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
“I might as well live here” she said, as she locked the church door an hour after elders’ meeting finished. Next morning she would be back to help with the toddlers , then lunch club the following day, and prayer group later that afternoon. It’s how church life can be: unending and unrelenting. A bit harsh of her daughter to say “Mum, get a life!” – but we know what she meant. But for the Psalmist (verse 4) the best that life could offer would be “to live in the house of the Lord”.
Not literally: no one lived in the temple. But for the true worshipper, every hour spent there was precious. Could that ever be true for us? – Maybe we need a change of agenda, with time for reflection (“to behold the beauty of the Lord”) and openness and readiness to review our priorities (“to inquire in his temple” ).
may we find our home in you
and our deepest joy
through your people’s praise
and the glory of your name.
John Durell is an active retired minister and a tutor for the Training for Life and Service programme
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