Settling Near God's Heart
"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." - Psalm 84:3
Several years ago, a building contractor who was working on a new site next to our church asked if we were aware of the birds that were flying in and out of the attic of our church building. We had to admit that we hadn't noticed!
The songwriter of Psalm 84 saw a bird that had built her nest in the Lord's temple, and the writer reasoned that this was the best place to make oneself at home. God's hospitality extends to all that he has made, and for people who love the Lord there is no better place to be.
This psalm is a song of deep yearning for spiritual connection with God in a place of worship. The joy of worshiping God gives strength for people who travel. Even when they are far away from God's house, even in a dry place like the valley of Baka, God's presence goes with them. Wherever they may go, they can find the sweetness of God's presence in worship, so they are able to go from strength to strength.
Jesus echoed this teaching when he met a woman at a well in Samaria; he taught her that the place of worship is wherever God is. And when she discovered that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, she went to tell everyone in her town, and they came out to meet with him (John 4)!
Better is one day with you, Lord, than a thousand elsewhere. Thank you for welcoming us into your presence wherever we go. Amen.