I have been away on vacation for the last several weeks, and have been away from posting thoughts and reflections on Santos Woodcarving Popsicles for even longer than that. I am in the midst of contemplating several research and writing projects and hope to post pieces of them here as well as pulling them together to share in classes and in groups of folks.
Today's reading from the Psalms in the Daily Office of Morning Prayer is from Psalm 5, and there are several references to God's "house" and the "shelter" of God. The use of the metaphor of the "house" or the "home" of God, and also the metaphor of "house" or "home" to describe God is one that I am keenly interested in pursuing, and have been, in fits and starts, for some time. The other projects that I am contemplating include a look at the book of Ruth, and expanding that examination into a deeper examination of the concept of chesed in the Hebrew scriptures/Old Testament.
More on these projects, later...
Have a blessed day,
Here is Psalm 5 and some thoughts on it:
| 1 Give ear to my words, O LORD; *|
consider my meditation.
2 Hearken to my cry for help, my King and my God, *
for I make my prayer to you.
3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; *
early in the morning I make my appeal and watch for you.
4 For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, *
and evil cannot dwell with you.
5 Braggarts cannot stand in your sight; *
you hate all those who work wickedness.
6 You destroy those who speak lies; *
the bloodthirsty and deceitful, O LORD, you abhor.
7 But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy I will go into your house; *
I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness,
because of those who lie in wait for me; *
make your way straight before me.
9 For there is no truth in their mouth; *
there is destruction in their heart;
10 Their throat is an open grave; *
they flatter with their tongue.
11 Declare them guilty, O God; *
let them fall, because of their schemes.
12 Because of their many transgressions cast them out, *
for they have rebelled against you.
13 But all who take refuge in you will be glad; *
they will sing out their joy for ever.
14 You will shelter them, *
so that those who love your Name may exult in you.
15 For you, O LORD, will bless the righteous; *
you will defend them with your favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5 is set in the context of the protagonist being under attack, or at least under threat by enemies, and the psalmist prays that God will "shelter" all those who take refuge in God, and they will sing with Joy for ever. The psalmist hopes to go to God's house, and there will bow down in awe. This is no mere dwelling place made by human hands, this is the house of the Almighty which inspires awe but also provides shelter. This is the place of God that inspires worship and refuge, but also inspires us to sing with joy.
This house of God is a house that is there for us, and has been opened to us, whether or not we always sense the door is open, whether or not we sense that it is there, it is there for us. This house of God is a house that inspires awe, but also provides shelter, and fills us with joy. Our own houses may be filled with the busy-ness of life, with the craziness of family, as well as the good and deep love of family. Our own houses may be places of shelter and mercy, but may also be places that are not always as joy-filled as we wish. But the house of God is always there for us, always provides shelter, always is open to us, through God's mercy, and fills us with Joy.
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey