Like Inconsequential Birds

Psalm 84:1-3

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I’d like to read to you from Psalm 84 verse 1, 2, and 3. There the psalm writer says

How I love your dwelling place, O Lord of Armies.
My soul grows weak and even wastes away,
as I long for the courtyards of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow has found a nest for herself,
where she may place her young near your altars,
O Lord of Armies, my King and my God. (Psalm 84:1-3)

We know that now almost a year into the worldwide covid-19 pandemic that many among us have not yet felt entirely comfortable with the idea of returning physically and attending worship like we were accustomed to, all these years prior to this.

We’re very thankful of course for the screening services that are available and that it can keep people very safe for their own reasons to be at home and to take part in the worship, albeit from a distance. But I believe also that those people who have not been able to come back would only naturally have a real longing to be back among their friends, worshipping God together inside their church as part of their congregation.

That desire is expressed I think very clearly here by the psalmist when he says my

My soul grows weak and even wastes away,
as I long for the courtyards of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

So we pray that soon it will be much easier for those who for very very legitimate reasons need to stay in a more private setting as they worship these days. But we look for the time when we can be together again. Sometimes though other people are reluctant to return to church maybe for reasons even beyond their physical concerns. Someone might feel like it’s just been too long. I should have started going back to church months ago and I didn’t and now I feel a little awkward about it all. So I think for now I’ll just stay home.

Some might feel that it’s inappropriate for them. Maybe because of things that are going on in their lives that have nothing to do with the pandemic. Maybe even sometimes we Christians make each other feel a little bit unwelcome to join us in the public worship. And when we feel those ways and maybe there are times when all of us do then what this Psalmist says next is very comforting. He says “even the sparrow has found a home and the swallow has found a nest for herself where she may place her young near your altars. O Lord of armies my king and my God.”

What a comfort that is meant to be. How often do you notice and stop to watch a little sparrow or swallow. There are so numerous among our communities that we don’t think of them as anything special and yet God welcomes even the little ones such as that into his courtyards. That picture here is of such little birds even building a nest at the altar of God. We might be inclined to shoot them away and to close the window they came in on, but that’s not God. That’s a picture of us and our relationship. We’re like little birds sometimes inconsequential to others, but very very precious to God.

So precious that he wants us to be assured each day that he loves us and forgives us all of our sins because he gave his own dear Son Jesus to take our place and to suffer the punishment that they deserve than that for his sake, we stand forgiven before God. And He wants us always to be assured of that.

And so we pray that God will bring us all back together again physically to worship and even more that he will always assure us individually of our great value to him our beauty before him through our Savior Jesus Christ.