Sunday, July 19, 2009


This photo was taken as I sat in a meadow yesterday. There is something powerful for me, in speaking the words of scripture aloud in creation. I do it rarely, and only when my heart is deeply moved to that space. But yesterday was one of those days.

Because I was praying for a friend who was pilgrimaging, for many (myself included) who find themselves walking in the valley of weeping, and because I was in some ways pilgrimaging myself, it was Psalm 84 that was deeply on my heart. Particularly the bits I've made italic:

Psalm 84 (NLT)

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
I long, yes, I faint with longing
to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young
at a place near your altar,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!
What joy for those who can live in your house,
always singing your praises.

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.

O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer.
Listen, O God of Jacob.

O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield!
Show favor to the one you have anointed.

A single day in your courts
is better than a thousand anywhere else!
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God
than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
from those who do what is right.
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
what joy for those who trust in you.

In true "God" fashion, I comment to L, who accompanied me on the hike, that I wished I could read part of that particular passage from Eugene Peterson's "The Message" because I loved how he translated verses 5-7. I laughed aloud when L confirmed that I was thinking about the Message, and then dug in her bag to hand me a copy. The verses I was looking for read as follows:

And how blessed all those in whom you live,
whose lives become roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!

As I finished reading these aloud as well, L. quietly wandered further down into the meadow, to give me some space to simply wrap myself in a shawl, and sit to journal, and pray and listen.


Anonymous said...

Live in Joy. What a beautiful reminder. Peace to you this day.