Summary: Worship as a Christian, in the context of fellow believers, is critical to spiritual well-being.

Let Us Worship

And Bow Down (I):

The Loveliest Place

Bible Reading:

Psalm 84






Let Us Worship And Bow Down (I): The Loveliest Place p.1

"What on earth was I thinking?"

It was a dark February evening when this thought kept pounding in Sandra’s

head. “What have I done?”

The cold sleet outside seemed like some kind of cruel reinforcer of the

numbness and chill she felt in her soul.

Only a few months before it had seemed so right.

Right to leave her boring marriage of 17 years, Mike and the kids. It had all

seemed like cheap vanilla.... so dull.

Especially compared to the new sales rep at work who cared, and

listened, treated her romantically, did exciting things in new places.

So she’d left for a new life, a future with him.

What she didn’t anticipate was that as quickly as Mr. Romance blew in, he

blew out. On to his next adventure.

And she was left, alone, in this cramped downtown apartment.

With nothing.


Realizing that what she had written off in such a cavalier fashion was

actually rich, deep and solid.

She began to crave it, long for it.

Richard was longing, too.

Richard was in his first year of university - experiencing life on campus. Had

to do his own laundry. Had to source his own food (notice I didn’t say "cook").

Get up and out to class all by himself.

Suddenly, life with mom looked awfully, incredibly good.

He longed for a real home-cooked meal;

for someone to fold his socks;

to welcome him when he walked in the door.

Going home for Christmas was going to be mighty nice.

What was it that Canada’s folk music icon, Joni Mitchell, sang in Big Yellow


"Don’t it always seem to go

Let Us Worship And Bow Down (I): The Loveliest Place p.2

that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone?"

What we have we take for granted...... till it’s pulled away for a time.

Ask anyone who’s seriously ill or becomes disabled.

Colwyn Francis Balmer - may that never happen to you.

May you never be lulled to sleep in the face of great blessing and

opportunity; but instead live to see and appreciate it for the gift of God that it


May your life be filled with gratitude instead of longing and regret.

Longing -

A deep desire for something or somewhere or someone.

We’re going to read some words from the Bible that are filled with exactly that

emotion - longing, yearning, hungering......

Let’s read it together:

PSALM 84 p.671

The author is listed as one of the “Sons of Korah”.

Same folks who wrote the words of longing found in Psalm 42 -

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O


My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?

We’re not terribly clear on what led to this cry from the heart:

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord....

A straight forward, deep hunger to be in church;

the gathering place to worship, meet and experience God.

That’s the bottom line of this piece of ancient poetry.

The writer wanted to be in the house of God.

But you get the sense that it was out of reach; couldn’t get there -

Let Us Worship And Bow Down (I): The Loveliest Place p.3

- perhaps life circumstance through family situation or finances didn’t


- perhaps, as happened on regular occasion, it was too dangerous to

travel. Roving bands from surrounding enemy nations terrorized the hill

country. You would head for the temple at the risk of your very life....

something we’re not familiar with at all, but common to many believers around

the world still today.

We will, by the way, be focusing on that this evening. We will gather at

the Communion Table with the theme of prayers for the persecuted church.

Our special guests will be a group of Sudanese Christians who know firsthand

what it is to suffer for their faith. They’ll share their story with us.

The poet thinks jealously of the birds that flew through the Temple courtyards

and made their nests in building nooks.

Ah!! To be near God, that way, all the time!

What a wonderful thing to be in Church.

The minutes spent there are precious - better than a thousand elsewhere.

Better even an entry level position, just getting your foot in the door of

hanging around church.....

....better that than well heeled and retired in some rich resort.

There’s the theme and focus of the poem - a celebration of Temple worship.

For Old Testament believers, the Temple was the central place to be

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