“One thing I seek …to live in the presence of the Lord… all the days of my life, …and to behold God's beauty.”
Psalm 27 was most likely written by King David. David wanted to dwell in the house of the Lord, in the temple, in the sanctuary all the days of his life and behold the beauty of God.
As Rev. Edward Markquart points out-
In the New Testament, we come to realize that God is not confined to living in a house of worship, is not confined to temple or a sanctuary. The beauty of God goes way beyond a physical building called a temple. So… this verse from Psalm 27:4 can be translated: “One thing I seek…to live in the presence of the Lord … all the days of my life…and to behold God's beauty.”
To live in the presence of God all the days of our lives and to see God’s beauty and to hear God’s beauty and to smell God’s beauty and to taste God’s beauty and to touch God’s beauty, the beauty of the Lord who is all around us.
In this dark world of trouble,
---In this world where the evening news is filled with horrific scenes like the recent shootings in Arizona. In a world where violence and brutality rules so many hearts rather than the beauty of God
---In this kind of world, I need, you need, and the world around us needs God’s beauty living inside of our souls.
Just as we need food to nourish our physical bodies, we need beauty to nourish our inner souls. God gives us what is beautiful to enliven our souls, fill our souls, and energize our souls.
Each one of us will tell different stores of when we have heard beauty, seen beauty, smelled beauty, tasted beauty and touched beauty…when beauty has touched our inner souls, when God has touched us.
“One thing I seek…to live in the presence of the Lord … all the days of my life…and to behold God's beauty.”
Where do you see most clearly the beauty of God?
Sunrise? Sunset? At the oceans- looking at a beautiful snow-capped mountain. On a clear night stargazing? When you are overwhelmed and silenced by the beauty before you. Have you ever caught a glimpse of Gods beauty in the small intricate details of a the pedals of a flower or the veins of a leaf or a fuzzy caterpillar? In art, in nature, for me when I saw my baby girl for the first time.
We are invited to live every day in the presence of the living God and to behold the beauty of God that we see with our eyes.
We hear the beauty of God through our ears. God not only comes to us through our visual senses but the presence of the living God comes to us through our auditory senses.
All of us are different. Each one of us has different visual experiences and different auditory experiences which are filled with beauty and the presence of the living God.
For me when I hear a piece called “First impressions” by Mark O Connor, Edgar Myer and Yo Yo Ma from the album Appalachian waltz. I put it on my phone to wake me up in the morning.
What are the most beautiful, God filled sounds that you have ever heard, where you hear the beauty of the living God?
Perhaps in the first cries of a new born baby?
The sounds of rushing water in a mountain stream?
The words, “I love you.”
“One thing I seek, …to live in the presence of the Lord… all the days of my life, …and to behold God's beauty.”
Our God given senses bring us into the presence of God. What are the most beautiful fragrances that God allows you to take in?
Fresh flowers, garlic on the stove, cookies in the oven, the way the air smells when it first starts raining. Absolutely beautiful
God’s creation of taste bring us more joy to life.
What are the tastes that you love the best? The flavors?
Sugar? Cinnamon? Cherry, lime, root beer? Intricate flavors of fresh fruits like strawberries and grapes, grandma’s German chocolate cake.
What are the touches which are most vivid and precious to you?
The soft skin of a newborn baby?
A tender touch from your husband or wife saying, “I love you.”
A touch by a friend on your shoulder as you grieve.
These are all little glimpses of the face of God.
----Not just our senses---
When you see and experience love, God’s love, Jesus’ love lived out. When people are involved in caring for those in need.
Where else do we see the beauty of God?
Daily with our eyes and ears and nose and tongue and touch-
daily when we see love between human beings.
We also the beauty of God when we see Jesus. Our beautiful savior-
In our psalm this morning there is a profound sense of trust. Trust is possible for those who know the Lord as savior. Salvation is about life- life is questioned in some way and salvation is needed- there is darkness! There are situations, things, people, that trouble threaten, weaken, and corrupt life. God is the light that drives the darkness away. Calling God the “God of my salvation” echoes the song of the Israelites who from the very beginnings of their history were lead out of captivity through the Red Sea.
Christians call the Lord “light” and “salvation” and “stronghold of life” because of the deliverance from sin and death given in Jesus Christ.
Jesus lived and taught and revealed God’s beauty-
Jesus’ death on the cross was the greatest example of beautiful love. “There is no greater love than this, than a person lays down his life for us.” Jesus, our beautiful savior, died on the cross to forgive us all.
It is beyond beautiful that Jesus was raised from the dead.
Our senses reveal God’s beauty all around us but we can only imagine the good things God has prepared for us.
One thing I seek…to live in the presence of the Lord all the days of my life…and to behold God's beauty.
May you abide in the presence of God, in the beauty of God- forever.