Friday, December 19, 2008

The Third Week of Advent: Friday

Psalm 84 is chosen for today's Vespers psalm. This song of pilgrimage describes the joy of those who went up to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple. It expresses delight in God's House and anticipates experiencing the presence of the Lord there, which is what makes Zion such a special place. In this psalm we also read a prayer on behalf of the king (vv. 8-9), and echoes of wisdom teaching that affirm the blessedness of those who trust in the true and living God (vv. 11-12).
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.
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.

(Psalm 86.1-7)
During Advent, we sing about God coming to us. However, this psalm tells the other side: it pictures believers coming to God in worship, fellowship, joy and delight. It all comes together when they arrive in Jerusalem, for there God meets them in the Temple and blesses them with his presence.

Worship is the place where we meet the God who comes to us. As the angels stirred the hearts of the shepherds to run to Bethlehem to see the Savior who had come to earth, so God's grace and mercy stir up our faith today and move his people to gather before him in praise and adoration.

O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

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