Day 23, April 5, 2020
Sometime early this morning I will go to our church, the Dunn’s Corners Community Church, Presbyterian, and I will unlock the door of the church. Today is Palm Sunday. Today is literally a banner day for the church, for the church that loves and adores and offers worship and praise to Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior. Today we remember Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey to shouts of Hosanna in the highest. Sometime early this morning I will go to our church and unlock the door of the church.
This will be a Palm Sunday unlike any we have ever experienced. On this Palm Sunday we will not gather together. There will be no opportunity to hold the palm branches and form a little parade. There will be no choir to lead us in singing “All glory, laud, and honor to thee Redeemer King! To whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.” There will be no anthem to proclaim, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!” There will be none of that. What there will be is a church that sits empty while we endure yet another day of the Coronavirus Crisis.
On a day when we are missing so much, God gave me a gift. God gave me a blessing. God gave me something to lift my spirits. In a very special way God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I’m here. I’m with you.” God let me know he is in charge. What God did is a reminder of what our dear friend Pat Rychlec said so often, “The Big Guy’s got this.”
Seventeen days ago, as the reality of the Coronavirus sunk in, I started a little bible reading program for the Psalms and the Proverbs. Each day there are five Psalms and one Proverb. After thirty days we will have read through all 150 of the Psalms and 30 of the 31 Proverbs. We’ll make a strong kick at the end to get that 31st Proverb under our belt.
I did not have the foresight to look ahead and ask, “What Psalms and what Proverbs will we be reading on particular days?” I just started on day one and we read five Psalms and one Proverbs each day. Well, it just so happened that today…Let me take a brief detour. “It just so happened…” is a code for, “God was at work.” It just so happened…no. No, that is now how our God works. Our God has plans and makes preparations beyond what we can ask or imagine. To us it just so happens. But God provides, God sees ahead, God makes a plan for his people. Now, back to my story.
It just so happened that today we are reading Psalms 81-85. That means this morning I read Psalm 84. “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (Psalm 84:1,2) On this Palm Sunday, missing our time of worship together, “My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord…” Such a perfect psalm to call me to worship, to call us to worship. Psalm 84 expresses the incomparable joy of being in the house of God as we worship and praise and give God our heartfelt adoration. As the psalmist is swept up in the spirit of worship, he captures the fullness of the moment with a phrase that feels like you could just say it over and over and over again. “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” Better is one day in your courts…better is one day in your courts…better is one day in your courts…
It means so much to the psalmist to be at worship, to be in the courts of the Lord, it means so much that he struggles to find just the right way to express what a gift it is to be in the house of the Lord. How do you express that sense of complete fulfillment and peaceful surrender that comes when you are exactly where you have always wanted to be? Here is what the psalmist came up with. “I’d rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord…” Well, really than anything else. There is nothing I would rather do than be in the presence of God. Shoot, I’d rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than to be doing anything else in this entire world.
So, sometime early this morning I will go to our church, the Dunn’s Corners Community Church, Presbyterian, and I will unlock the door of the church. Today is Palm Sunday. The church might look empty. The church might seem empty. The church might not have anyone in the pews. But the church will not be empty. The church is not empty. The Lord is in the house! Jesus is in the house! The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him. And you better believe this, there is going to be one happy little doorkeeper opening the doors, because better is one day in the Lord’s house than thousands else.
With the love of Christ,