Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 26. (MsgB)
I scrub my hands with purest soap, then join hands with the others in the great circle, dancing around Your altar, God. Singing God-songs at the top of my lungs, telling God-stories.
God, I love living with You; Your house glows with Your glory.
Hmm. Maybe King David was onto something here?
Could it be that right here in the middle of Psalm 26, David was describing for us what true church life should look like?
No sitting in hard pews, staring at the back of someone’s head. No dozing off as the pastor goes on and on about how I need to be living a cleaner, purer life for Jesus. No stand up, sit down exercises where the robed man up front reads a line of Scripture and we read the next. No dry, boring prayers to Saint Joseph and Mother Mary. No out-of-tune choir that sings some lengthy hymn in Latin while I ponder what the score is of my favorite NFL team.
No, as I see it, King David was envisioning church as a rousing celebration of life. Kinda reminds me of some of the same thoughts found in the New Testament, written by church folks who must have envisioned church life much in the same way King David did 1,000 years earlier. Here’s just a taste of what some of our first century brothers and sisters thought about doing church:
Ephesians 5: 18-20 Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1st Corinthians 14: 26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.
Hebrews 10: 19-25 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Maybe it’s time for us to get a whole new approach to the way we do church? Maybe, like David suggests here in Psalm 26, church life is much more lively than we are allowing it to be? Maybe, just maybe, successful church community is not defined by what I call the 3-B’s (building bigger (B)uildings, collecting more (B)ucks, and putting more (B)utts in the seats) but maybe by focusing ourselves on three other activities instead?
1) Washing our hands (i.e. cleansing ourselves from our selfish ways);
2) Gathering hand-in-hand with fellow believers;
3) Joining in circles to sing and dance around the glorified presence of our King.
Gosh. Sounds kinda radical doesn’t it?
Almost sounds like one, big happy family of God.
And while I sure can’t speak for you, to me it certainly sounds like a lot more fun than hard pews, crusty sermons, and out-of-tune organ music!
My prayer: As I see it, Lord, Your Word contains some pretty explicit instructions on what church life should really be about. Gathering God’s people into Your House so that we might celebrate Your presence sure sounds pretty good to me. Take us there. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What needs to change in my church life so that it conforms more to the words of King David or to the instructions found in the New Testament? What church traditions need to go away in order for us to be found practicing a more biblically-based and more vibrant church life in my community?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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