Psalms for Prayer

Day 18: A Prayer for the Church

Psalm 84:1-12

 

In the 1989 film Say Anything, Lloyd Dobler (played by John Cusack) stands outside Diane Court’s window with a boombox playing a love song, hoping to win her over. This scene has become iconic; I’m sure you’ve either seen it or a parody of it.

Diane is the school’s valedictorian and Lloyd is, well, not. Even so, the movie centers on their budding, though unlikely, relationship. In an attempt to win her love once and for all—after failing to be able to buy her an expensive gift—Lloyd stands outside her window in that classic scene, stereo above his head. In a sense, he’s showing her that he’s willing to humble himself to the point of standing outside her window to profess his love, even if the world is watching.

Sometimes it can feel a little humbling to be part of the Church when the world is watching. We’re an awkward and flawed bunch. But the Church is one of God’s best gifts to the world—a place where His people are called to dwell together in unity. Today’s psalm is a prayer celebrating the gift of the Church, because God’s people don’t just dwell together, we live together with Him.

In today’s reading, the psalmist says, “I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than live in the tents of wicked people” (Psalm 84:10). For the psalmist, standing outside God’s window is better than being under the seemingly safe cover of his enemies’ tents. His love and trust for the Lord supersedes his own comfort and desires. He knows that being part of the people of God is better by far than being alone.

The psalmist cries out to the Lord, trusting that He is good and that joy can be found nowhere else. He wants to be nowhere else but in the house of the Lord, among the people of the Lord. In fact, he’d be willing to stand outside with a boombox over is head, rather than try to find comfort anywhere else. Better is one day with God than with anyone else, anywhere else.

Loving the Lord is not merely a love story, where God always plays hard to get, and we try to win Him over and gain His affection. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, we are already loved and already welcomed into His house. We are His children, and therefore, we will never be homeless.

May we walk in this faith today, regardless of our trials and tribulations, giving thanks that God does not call us to live out our faith alone. As we have seen and will continue to see, the psalms are full of prayers that express joy and frustration, fear and hope, and everything in between. But because our God loves us unconditionally and lends His ear to our sorrows, we can know that there is no better place than in His house, as His children, together resting in the grace of our Father.

Written by Brandon D. Smith