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Psalm 84 (Listen)

My Soul Longs for the Courts of the Lord

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

84:1   How lovely is your dwelling place,
    O LORD of hosts!
  My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the LORD;
  my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.
  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.
  Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
    ever singing your praise! Selah
  Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
  As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
  They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.
  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
    give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
  Behold our shield, O God;
    look on the face of your anointed!
10   For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.
  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11   For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
    the LORD bestows favor and honor.
  No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
12   O LORD of hosts,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you!


Second Sunday in Lent

This beautiful psalm from today’s reading is a prayer of comfort. Here, the psalmist conveys his deep spiritual longing for God’s presence. It is a prayer of someone separated from God’s dwelling place. Depending on which scholar’s dating of this psalm you agree with, the psalmist could either be referring to the Jerusalem Temple or the Tabernacle that preceded it.  
The Psalmist says he would rather be a “doorkeeper”, or a servant, in the house of God than live in “tents of wickedness” — or in other words, the homes of evildoers — because one day with God is better than a thousand elsewhere.
 
In today’s context, this psalm could be a prayer of a person who is separated from the sanctuary, or the prayer of a person who longs to experience God’s Word and Christ’s Body and Blood in community because the Lord has promised to be there. It is important for the Body of Christ, His people, to join together and offer thanks and praise.
 
It was not that long ago that many of our churches had to close their doors to in-person worship due to COVID restrictions, and some churches were closed longer than others. During that time, many yearned to “taste and see that the Lord is Good,” and had to find alternative ways to worship together — some outdoors in parks, and others in cars in parking lots. Even now, some are shut-in or in hospitals due to health reasons, and unable to worship and commune together — and so they currently yearn.
 
It is normal to long for hymns, prayers, fellowship, preaching of the Word, and Holy Communion. It is normal to want to join together. Thankfully, we can trust that “no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).
 
Jesus Christ offered the perfect worship by sacrificing His own sinless life for us on the cross, freeing us from sin, death, and the devil and granting us eternal life where we will worship together and glorify God our Father for all eternity. Thanks be to God!

Prayer: Gracious Lord, we give You thanks for the ability to worship Your holy name. We give You the glory and honor that is due to You, for You are our King and our God and we will ever sing Your praise, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Devotion written by The Rev. Teresa E. Peters

Jeremiah 1:1–10 (Listen)

1:1 The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.

The Call of Jeremiah

Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
  and before you were born I consecrated you;
  I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the LORD said to me,

  “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
  for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
  and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
  Do not be afraid of them,
  for I am with you to deliver you,
      declares the LORD.”

Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me,

  “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
10   See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
  to pluck up and to break down,
  to destroy and to overthrow,
  to build and to plant.”

1 Corinthians 3:11–23 (Listen)

11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

Mark 3:31–4:9 (Listen)

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

The Parable of the Sower

4:1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”


Morning Psalms

Psalm 84 (Listen)

My Soul Longs for the Courts of the Lord

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

84:1   How lovely is your dwelling place,
    O LORD of hosts!
  My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the LORD;
  my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.
  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.
  Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
    ever singing your praise! Selah
  Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
  As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
  They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.
  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
    give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
  Behold our shield, O God;
    look on the face of your anointed!
10   For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.
  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11   For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
    the LORD bestows favor and honor.
  No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
12   O LORD of hosts,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Psalm 150 (Listen)

Let Everything Praise the Lord

150:1   Praise the LORD!
  Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens!
  Praise him for his mighty deeds;
    praise him according to his excellent greatness!
  Praise him with trumpet sound;
    praise him with lute and harp!
  Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
  Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
  Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
  Praise the LORD!


Evening Psalms

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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