King David’s 27th Psalm, the one that starts “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” – has it ever seemed to you a bit vacuous if not near-smug? How could, say, most any refugee or hostage have been expected to believe that no flesh-devouring enemy, no army encamped around him/her, no war’s atrocities could shake his/her confidence in the strength, the safety afforded by faith in the Lord?

But verse 4 starts to make sense to me. It begins

One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after…

And I wonder what one thing might I have ever asked of the Lord, and personally sought ever after? King David thus terms that ultimate aim:

To live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in his temple.

At first, I imagine any soaring cathedral, pagoda or mosque, complete with cloistered nuns and/or meditating monks. But on reading

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living

A far simpler phrase comes to mind, and its profound explanation:

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

“Kingdom” refers here not to some political institution nor hierarchy. It’s the beloved community – an ideal, world-wide, non-violent family that seeks not to judge but to understand, to learn from and thereby incorporate within itself what only seems to be different.

Might David’s 27th Psalm apply to people like me – people who’ve learned to forgive and be forgiven by, to love and be faithful to a really big family of doing-the-best-we-can sinners? Might we at St. Luke’s be people who’ve been privileged to live in the house of the Lord many if not all the days of our lives, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple?

Today, indeed, we all “wait for the Lord.” For example, with hospitals going broke, might universal health care begin to make more sense? When on-line schooling exposes ever more clearly the racial chasms between zip codes, might educational equity – meeting all children’s needs – seem only sane?

Albeit via Zoom, let us “be strong, and let [our] heart[s] take courage.”  Let us wait for not only a vaccine but for the Lord.  He is near.

Marie Hennedy

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