Great news: got the double room, met a wonderful church group on retreat here (Jesus House) – just watching how they interact with each other was inspiring – so positive and life giving – and the meal tonight was a help yourself buffet – so I started with two mains 🙂 and drank another couple of litres of tap water (council pop as we called it in the Midlands). 

I’ve been musing on Psalm 84 a little so this post is a work in progress. Thoughts and feelings from the psalm. 

Psalm 84[a]

For the director of music. According togittith.[b] Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

I wonder if the director of music occasionally needed reminding how fortunate he was in the wonderful place he worked in? Even the house of The living God with the arc, holy of holies and divine presence might lose it’s sparkle with unexamined over familiarity… Did the director need to hear this song – and did he compose an amazing score for it? Wouldn’t you love to hear that?!

How lovely is your dwelling-place,
    Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
    for the courts of the Lord;

What does it take to ‘un-desensitivise’ a soul until it feels utterly it’s call to it’s maker?  Surely all souls would long for this unfettered by life ‘in the matrix’ 

my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.
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.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you.[c]

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

So blessed are those who stay in the glorious temple/ presence of God, but blessed to are the pilgrims on route to worship. 
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
    they make it a place of springs;
    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.[d]

This is sensational stuff. A pilgrim heart walking through life’s barren places then may too bring living water perhaps by how they face adversity. When a bereaved person in despair and loss still resolves to have faith and not wed themselves indefinitely to grief and fear and sadness though they truly mourn and truly grieve, that same faithful pilgrim on life’s journey brings living water to those observing and surrounding them. It’s not their intention  they have simply resolved to head back to the courts of The Lord despite their burden and sorrow. And yet the by product is life around them. Life for others, and eventually new life for them. 

I love the illustration of the Indian woman carrying a jar each end of a pole balanced across her shoulders. You can read it here it reminds me how in our brokenness and weakness we may have far more purpose than we ever imagined. Pilgrims in deserts bring rain. 
They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion.

Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
    listen to me, God of Jacob.
Look on our shield,[e] O God;
    look with favour on your anointed one.

10 Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favour and honour;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose way of life is blameless.

12 Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Blessed indeed: