“Practically perfect in every way.”
No, not me . . . the absurdity of that claim goes without saying. Many of you went to the proper source immediately: Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) literally flew into the lives of a family that needed her and said, “I’m practically perfect in every way. Practically perfect, that’s my forte. Uncanny nannies are hard to find. Unique, yet meek, unspeakably kind.”
Our scripture for the sanctuary worship services this Sunday is Psalm 84. It is so beautiful and so helpful — it is both practical and perfect. Jesus quoted most often from three sources: Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and the Psalms. A fourth century Christian leader said the Psalms were “songs of the heart.” Disciple Bible Study did not teach participants “about” the Psalms — instead, it had the goal of “guiding you into the Psalms . . . to let them help you express your inexpressible thoughts and feelings, as they become your prayers.”
Psalm 84 was sung by homesick pilgrims, as they walked with anticipation toward the Temple in Jerusalem. Their opening line has moved musicians and writers into creative action over the centuries: “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” The ensuing lines lift up themes of soulful longing, joyous expressions, the happiness of feeling at home, and the realization of the unmatched presence of God (“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.”)
But this psalm is not just about finding a beautiful place to stay . . . it is also concerned with who we are when we leave. Who we are as we come-and-go. “The Lord is a sun and shield; God is favor and glory. The Lord gives — and doesn’t withhold — good things to those who walk with integrity.”
What a practically perfect way to walk!