The morning Psalm for today is one of my favorites: Psalm 84. I can’t read the opening phrases without hearing Brahms’ sacred and stirring centerpiece of his Requiem:
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of Hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD…
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.”
I appreciate the free paraphrase offered by Eugene H. Peterson in Psalms:
What a beautiful home, Yahweh of the Angel Armies!
I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,
always dreamed of a room in your house,
where I could sing for joy to God-alive!
One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship,
beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches.
I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God
than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin.
All sunshine and sovereign is Yahweh,
generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.
It’s smooth sailing all the way with Yahweh of the Angel Armies.
Rev. Peterson’s version expresses many of the sentiments going through my mind as my sojourning with you, my ministry traveling companions these past 2 years, is nearing its end. What a wonderful experience it has been!
God has not scrimped with us, and the many memories we take with us will be reliable reminders of God’s generosity and faithfulness.
Point Pleasant Beach is certainly a beautiful place to live – no need to compare it to Greek island beaches. And Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church has indisputably been a beautiful place of worship and ministry. I will try not to make comparisons in the future, but it will be hard. You welcomed us with open arms and found your way into our hearts so that the last two years seem to have flown by.
All has not been smooth sailing, but the Lord has given us everything we needed to overcome many challenges. We know that even the unprecedented and distressing experiences of these days are not the final word. The future rests with God and God has promised to lead us all the way.
I have the privilege of leading worship for two more Sundays as we continue to celebrate the Spirit’s work among us. God is not done with us yet!
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; God 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.
Let us continue to trust the hand that guides and leads us from strength to strength.