Psalm 84 (NIVUK)
1 How lovely is your dwelling-place,
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,
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,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
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.
8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
look with favour on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favour and honour;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose way of life is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Since leaving my parent’s home at the age of 18 I have not stayed in one place very long, and I have lived in a variety of communities in Scotland: from a student flat in the city of Edinburgh via a number of the small communities in West Fife, to the island of Barra, and back to the mainland…
When I lived on Barra, we would watch the horizon on the long journey back to the island after a trip to the mainland, straining our eyes until at last we saw the familiar outline of the island, growing larger, knowing we were home at last when rounded the great hulk of Maol Domhnaich and Castlebay spread out before us…
And yet, I often found myself gazing at the horizon on other occasions wondering about those I loved and had left behind in those other places I had once called home on the mainland…
I still find myself today, gazing at a different horizon but wondering the same thing: where is home?
What about you?
Do you know the answer to that question?
Perhaps you have lived all of your life in the same community and can’t imagine life anywhere else, or perhaps like me you gaze at ever changing horizons and wonder where life will carry you next?
The Psalmist, however, knows exactly where they belong, for them there is no doubt!
Their dwelling place is with God and there is no where else they would rather be.
Shelterer of sparrows and swallows,
Whether life’s journey takes me as far as the east is from the west,
Whether home is something real or only dreamed of,
May the blessing of knowing
that my true dwelling place is forever with you