Psalm 27 (selected verses)
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
One thing I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
This psalm is so beautiful I’m not sure I can even say anything about it that is worthwhile. And yes, it’s one of my texts for preaching this Sunday!
I am particularly fond of the first and last paragraphs of the psalm: the idea that the Lord is light and there is nothing that can trouble me or inspire fear because of that, and the idea that God’s goodness can be seen even here on earth…both are so wonderful. Pop Christianity often has this idea that we can only see God after we die, that the whole point of living the Christian life is to be rewarded after death…but that’s not how I believe at all. I really believe that God can be seen in the land of the living—not just in creation, but in other people and maybe even in me…and I also think God does reveal Godself in different ways, including here and now.
Seeking God often looks like wasting time—to do one thing single-mindedly, to seek God’s face, to look forward to seeing God in God’s own house—but it isn’t. It does take waiting, which is not easy. Waiting requires strength and courage, seeking requires diligence, but the reward is to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Even during Lent. Isn’t that what these holy seasons are about? We clear the clutter, we leave the busy-ness, and we seek God’s face through prayer and fasting, through worship and study, through rest and renewal. God said “when you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me” (Jer. 29.13). It’s a worthy pursuit…but it requires waiting. I hate waiting, and so I am one of those who needs extra strength and courage! In our instant gratification culture, waiting is unpopular. But God doesn’t work on our culture’s time—as Abraham learned yesterday. And so we wait.
God, I hate waiting. Give me the courage and strength to wait for you, to seek you diligently. Reveal yourself to me here in this time, and fill me to overflowing with your light and love that I might share it with the world. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.