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Weekly Wellness Word: Dwell

In today's Morning Prayer reading from Phyllis Tickle's Divine Hours book, the Refrain was this verse from Psalm 27:5.

One thing I have asked of the LORD; one thing I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.

There is an old Vineyard worship song by Andy Park based on this verse. The Lord drew me back to that song today. 

One thing I ask, one thing I seek

That I may dwell in your house, O Lord

All of my days, all of my life

That I may see You, Lord.

One thing I ask

One thing I desire

Is to see You,

Is to see You,

Hear me, O Lord, hear me when I cry

Lord, do not hide your face from me

You have been my help, you have been my shield

And you will lift me up.

One thing I ask of You

One thing I seek

To be in Your presence, Lord

To sit at Your feet

One thing I ask

One thing I desire

Is to see You,

Is to see You,

To see your beauty

To see your majesty

This is my one desire

This is my highest aim

To see You

To be with You

What I noticed about the song is that, as Andy sat with this verse he realized that the thing we are asking of the Lord is not necessarily to be physically present in God's "house". Yes, it is true that King David absolutely loved being in the temple and Scripture shows us that he spent a lot of time there. But David knew the presence of the Lord everywhere, even in the fields when he was watching his flock. Here's a verse from I Samuel 17:37.

And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 

We know from this verse that David experienced the protection and companionship of the Lord in all circumstances, especially those in which he felt most in peril.  I believe that Andy Park captured that in this worship song. The cry of our hearts to be in the "house" of the Lord is simply a cry to see the Lord, to feel His presence, to know Him deep in our bones.  This week my church announced that they would not be regathering for weekend worship services for the remainder of 2020. I know that many of my fellow parishioners, like me, are saddened by the prospect of not being able to gather together for worship for so many more months. We long to share the same space, to lift our voices in unison in songs like this one, to feel the chills of excitement up our spine when the Holy Spirit breathes into our whole being the truths of a good sermon.  I am reading a book called Eager to Love by Richard Rohr about Franciscan spirituality and in the book he includes a quote by Saint Francis of Assisi. Wherever we are, wherever we go, we bring our cell with us. Our brother body is our cell and our soul is the hermit living in the cell. If our soul does not live in peace and solitude within this cell, of what avail is it to live in a man-made cell? A cell is the living space of a monk living in a monastery. It is small and confining. It is sparsely furnished. Not a place where most of us would want to spend long periods of time, but the shelter in place and social distancing restrictions of this pandemic have caused some of us to feel like we are locked in a cell. Yet, for a cloistered monk, their cell is a sacred space. It is a place of prayer, of study, of silence and solitude. It is the only room in the monastery that they can call their own. And Saint Francis says that our body is this place, our cell, and that our soul is the monk that finds solace within his cell.  As I sit with these musings, I am challenged by two things: the antsy tendencies within my own being that strain at the leash of pandemic restrictions and my desire to ask and invite into my being the One Thing, to see the presence and beauty of God. Perhaps you are feeling similar challenges in your own heart. I would encourage you to find this song on the internet and listen to it, to let it sink into your bones, to rise up from your couch and raise your hands in worship. Be the monk in the cell, lifting his soul in prayer and meditation

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