Psalm 84


The Joy of Worship in the Temple

To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Selah


The Breath of Worship


I am so thankful that we are able to gather for worship in person once again. For TOO long we had to do without due to COVID. Remember the days we could gather for food, fellowship and worship with no restrictions, masks and distancing. It all shut down in the middle of Lent in 2020. We had just completed a midweek Lenten Soup Supper and Worship time. Do you remember?

I wonder how many of us would have made a special effort to be there if we would have known we would not be back together for this long. Oh how I missed being together in community.

I imagine you did too.

For me, worship together is like taking a breath. Gathering for worship is the Body of Christ inhaling, gathering in the air into its lungs like a deep breath. We gather in. We are welcomed and we are together.

And when we are sent out, Body of Christ exhales as the Spirit of God is sent out in God’s beloved to the hands and feet in the world.

Like breathing, there is a rhythm to it. Gathered in… sent out. Gathered in… sent out.


I don’t know about you, but I feel like we were holding our breath for two straight years!

Don’t get me wrong - we DID worship, both virtually and over time, with certain guidelines (necessary guidelines established to care for one other as we carry out our mission), and we are slowly STILL getting back to worship as before.

As we do get back together, I look forward to the rhythm of the breath of life once again.

I hope and pray that as we do get back to some semblance of normal, we will be mindful of those who join us remotely, even after the doors are fully open. I hope and pray we will be focused on the One we gather to worship and offer our praise. I hope and pray that the things that separate us be overcome by the love that binds us together. I hope and pray that we are refreshed and strengthened to go out and share the good news of Jesus Christ in our words and actions. I hope and pray we will learn from our time away just how valuable is our time together.

A colleague of mine, Bishop Craig Schweitzer who is bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod – ELCA, shared this prayer at a conference years ago (I have used it before). He referenced the author in his notes (see below).


I offer it as the prayer for today.


Let us pray:

Breathe in the breath of God

Breathe out your cares and concerns


Breathe in the love of God

Breathe out your doubts and despairs


Breathe in the life of God

Breathe out your fears and frustrations


We sit quietly before the One who gives life and love to all creation,


We sit in awe of the One who formed us in our mother’s wombs


We sit at peace surrounded by the One who fills every fiber of our being


Breathe in the breath of God

Breathe out your tensions and turmoil


Breathe in the love of God

Breathe out your haste and hurry


Breathe in the life of God

Breathe out your work and worry


We sit quietly before the One who gives life and love to all creation,

We sit in awe of the One who formed us in our mother’s wombs


We sit at peace surrounded by the One who fills every fiber of our being.


Amen


(“Breath Prayer” - Offered by Professor Mary Hess during a “Missional Leadership” class at Luther Seminary, spring 2020)



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