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The Longing Of My Soul

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

…10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!  -Psalm 84:1-2,10-12

This Psalm was written by the Sons of Korah.  The sons of Korah were a division of the priesthood, in charge of the singing of the temple services.  The Sons of Korah were the sons of Moses’ cousin Korah.

The Psalm speaks to those who did not get to go to the Jerusalem temple very often. The Jerusalem temple was the only temple in all of Judaism. It housed the only Holy of Holies, the only altar of sacrifice, the original ark of the covenant, Aaron’s staff, the stone tablets, and a jar of the Exodus manna.  Other villages and towns may have had a synagogue- a place to gather for worship- but no temple.

So, the Israelites from all over Israel, and from all over the world where they may have been scattered, gathered in Jerusalem to attend the annual festivals when they were able to travel.  The true children of Israel loved to go to the temple.  They longed to hear the Psalms sung by the Sons of Korah. They longed to join in the prayers and the liturgies of the temple. Presenting themselves in the holy Temple was the highlight of their lives. “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

We were accustomed to visiting our Heritage church every week. Our people love to sing the hymns and chant the liturgies and prayers. They love to hear the Scriptures and to receive the Lord’s Supper.  They love to see and embrace their friends. But now, for two months, we have been ordered not to gather. To protect our people and the community around us we have suspended services and closed the doors.  Our people long to be in the Lord’s house.  If they could serve as a door keeper at Heritage, they would gladly come and so serve.

None of us ever envisioned this day coming.  We took it for granted that Heritage would always be open, the organist would be playing the prelude when we arrived on Sunday morning, and we would join in happy worship again as we did each Sunday and Wednesday.  Now we long for what we once had.  We will never take our worship service for granted again.

When we can finally gather together again, how sweet will that be?  What a joyful day of thanksgiving and praise. Be patient and look forward with eager anticipation. “ How lovely is your dwelling place,  O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints  or the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

-Pastor Anderson