A Temple for the Lord

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In this psalm David is talking about building a Temple for the Lord, a permanent dwelling place for the Ark of the Covenant. He will not rest until it is done. Such a Temple would honor the presence of the Lord in their midst. It would be a holy place, a sacred space where the people could do proper worship to the Lord.
We understand the need for the Chosen People to have this Temple in their midst. We see our own churches in much the same manner as they saw the Temple. They are places of worship and we gain comfort in knowing that they are there as places of refuge and as a sacred places in our communities. But we need to interpret this psalm personally too.

These words of David can be made ours as well. We, too, ought to set our hearts on creating a place for God’s presence—in our own hearts, in our own personal lives, every day. It can be our prayer to say, ʺI will give no sleep to my eyes,/ to my eyelids I will give no slumber,/ till I find a place for the Lord,/ a dwelling place for the Strong One of Jacob.ʺ This is the dream of every Christian believer, that his or her heart and soul might finally become a proper resting place for the Lord.

We are, as Paul tells us, Temples of the Holy Spirit. ʺDo you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you have received from God? (1 Corinthians 6:19) In living our lives in accord with God’s precepts of love, we are making of our bodies, of our minds, and of our souls, a suitable dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. When we act justly toward all, when we show mercy and forgiveness to those who have done us harm, we are acting as living temples of the Holy Spirit. When we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit the imprisoned, we are bringing the Holy Spirit to them in the temple of our bodies. This is the Christian hope, the Christian dream. That we would make of our very bodies, of our very lives, a living temple in honor of the Living God.

Let us pray during this Lenten season for the will to make of our lives and our bodies temples worthy of the God who made us, who redeemed us, and who loves us unconditionally. Let us pray: ʺLord, give success to the work of our hands. O give us success to the work of our hands.ʺ Amen.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.