The second part of the psalm mentions “a doorkeeper in the house of my God.” I think of doorkeepers as a cross between ushers and custodians.
While I was in seminary, I worked as a custodian in a church. I lived in an old Tudor mansion that had been converted into the parish house. When you are a janitor, you basically hear complaints. The floors aren’t waxed to a shine. A dust bunny hides in a corner. The furnace cuts off early on Sunday morning before people arrive. A restroom runs out of paper towels. Custodians can be forgiven if they develop a grouchy, defensive demeanor because it is a thankless job.
In today’s reading, the pilgrims would rather serve in this thankless job and be in God’s house than to live in the comfort that would be theirs within the tents of the wicked. The pilgrims, who have longed for the courts of the Lord, would rather be there for only one day than to live a thousand elsewhere.
Today’s passage prompts us to ask ourselves: What are we willing to do to seek the joy of the Lord? In what ways are we willing to serve to be continually in God’s presence?
Ever since my behind-the-scenes experience as a janitor, I have made a conscious effort to compliment custodial staff on their good work. When I meet with staff or leaders, I make it a point to tell them how welcome I feel when I cross the threshold of their facilities. I note that theirs is no small service. The Lord withholds no good thing from those who serve.
Lord of hosts, your sanctuary is the place of welcome. May I be a willing doorkeeper for all who enter to praise you. Amen.
God had prevented David from building a temple in Jerusalem but then permitted David’s son, Solomon, to build it. In First Kings, Solomon places the ark of the covenant in the holiest place, and God’s presence descends. The psalmist rejoices in the Temple and would rather be in its courts than anywhere else because that is where God dwells. The New Testament readings remind us that the people of God have always met with resistance. The author of Ephesians compares living the Christian life to going into battle, so we must be prepared. Jesus also meets with resistance in John. His teachings are too hard for many to accept, so they abandon him. When we face resistance, therefore, we should not be surprised; but we are also not alone.
• Read 1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11, 22-30, 41-43. How does your faith inform your sense of hospitality to friends and strangers?
• Read Psalm 84. Is your joy in the Lord? How does your relationship with God help you through times of sorrow?
• Read Ephesians 6:10-20. How do truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and God’s word help you live boldly as an ambassador of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
• Read John 6:56-69. God came to us in a messy human body. How does your embodiment help you understand what it means to abide in Christ?
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