top of page

Proper 16B Psalm

James Runcorn

Most of us know this Psalm. We may not know that it’s this Psalm, but we know it. Many songs have been written from this Psalm. Well known today is “Better is One Day” by Matt Redman. It’s a good song for a good Psalm! I just wish I actually believed it sometimes…

Pastor, don’t you love those Sundays where everything goes well and it is obvious that you’ve been in the presence of the Lord? On those Sunday’s it might be easier to pray this Psalm than the ones we remember. If you’re anything like me, you remember the Sunday’s where things don’t go as well as you’d like. Maybe attendance was down. Maybe there was a problem with the lyrics in the projection. Maybe you received an email from someone in the church about how they’ll be leaving because they haven’t been “fed.” Maybe you didn’t get any notice and they’re just gone.

Those weeks it might be harder to join in with the Psalmist. Those weeks it’s tough to say, “a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.”

Sure, we may not want to live in the tent of wickedness, per se, but, if we’re honest, sometimes it’s hard to say we’d rather be in the house of God. Sometimes we may not believe that a day in the courts of the Lord is better than a thousand elsewhere.

Pastor, do you believe that those who trust in the Lord have happy hearts? Do you have a happy heart? Do you believe that when the faithful walk through the valley they turn it into a spring?

This week is one of those weeks where I struggle to believe this Psalm… I write this on a Monday towards the end of summer. This means that families are gone frequently. This means that people are taking those vacations they said they were going to all summer. This means people are exhausted because they are finally getting to their summer projects they procrastinated.

This means I’m critical of the things other people have placed above worship. Projects. Work. Vacation. Family.

This last one is a big one… It seems we idolize Family in North American culture. I frequently hear, “Family First.” My ecclesiology doesn’t permit me to affirm this.