Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise. (Psalm 84:3–4)
In the ancient world, temples were the dwelling places of the gods, quite literally. So the joy and happiness of Psalm 84 should come as no surprise as it is a song of delight about the house of God in Jerusalem. It is a lovely place primarily because it is the place where God’s presence resides. But it is also a lovely place because of the communal strength it affords the people (v. 5), because of the soulful sustenance it offers (v. 2), and because of the perfect peace it exhibits for all of creation – even the sparrows and the swallows nest there with their young (v. 3). The temple in Jerusalem – and our sanctuaries here and now – can reflect this perfect peace as well, by what we do in our buildings and by what we do in our community. – rc