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Midday Prayer: The Gift of Pilgrimage

Posted on May 15th, 2014

Silence, Stillness, and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Psalm 84

1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca (i.e. trouble)
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

Both the king and his prophet certainly have the best intentions at heart. If we live in the comfort of houses built of materials like cedar, should not God have a greater house? So the exchange in this text is counterintuitive, an encounter with One who is perfectly content to live within impermanent tents and tabernacles-on-the-move.
And yet David soon learns that the realm of God is not about grandeur! The divine Spirit cannot be housed within walls, but “moves about in a tent and tabernacle.” It seems that this God values the flexibility-the divine capacity to strike camp and be on the move that tented life affords. While human beings tend to calculate value by size and quality, God estimates a dwelling place according to agility and responsiveness. For now, David’s eagerness to build a structure for God is too small a concern. To be responsive to God, able to pull up stakes at the divine command-that is the larger calling.
Disciplines: …read more

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