Next to the Gospel of John, the Book of Psalms is my favorite book of the Bible. Even more, Psalms 8 and 24 are powerful representations of how I experience God.
“O Lord, our sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth” in Psalm 8 and “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully” in Psalm 24 - these 2 verses frame how I understand the extraordinary love God has for us and our place in God’s creation.
First thing every morning, I walk or power walk, or on a really good day, I run. Typically, I get out around 7am. But this particular week as I walked out the door, I looked up at my neighbors’ homes across the street. That’s not really unusual, I always look around and assess my surroundings. In fact, I consider myself to be rather observant, or at least I try to be. But that morning, the perched birds caught my attention. There were a flock of birds sitting on the apex of the roofs of those 2 homes. I watched them for a couple of seconds, then went on my way. The next morning, they were there again, and again the next morning. By the third day, I realized that they’ve been there all the time, showing up every morning like clockwork. It's just that this week I was prompted to take notice, and here is what I learned…
Those birds who congregate on the roof every morning, always face the same direction - east. When I walk out of my house, I’m facing east as well. Those gathered birds, singing their songs, and facing the same direction are waiting on the sun. They aren’t looking for the sun. They are waiting on the Sun, because for them, there is no question of the Sun’s rising presence.
Psalm 8 and Psalm 24 remind us that we do not stand outside of nature. We are stewards of nature and we are also learners of nature. Furthermore, we are oriented towards goodness. “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully.” That is potentially all of us. God created us with clean hands - we have the capacity to do good. God created us with pure hearts - we’re not perfect, but we have the ability to forgive and restore. God created us with souls oriented towards truth. In other words, we are innately equipped with the ability to face east and wait for the Sun. God’s presence in our lives is sure - cloudy or clear, rain or shine - God is with us.