At The Bottom Of The Holy Hill

Psalm 24 – The 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for July 15, 2012

“…Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?” (Psalm 24:3)

Why do I still believe in God?

When I awoke this morning, dawn hours away and darkness shrouding my home, that question settled in beside me.

Unbidden. Unexpected.

And yet perhaps not, for earlier in the week I’d read a Psalm I’ve spoken, whispered or shouted scores of times . . . Psalm 24.

I’ve read Psalm 24 because I’ve read all the Psalms. I’ve read it because it follows the famous 23. I’ve heard variations of 24 because numerous hymns have been inspired by its words.

Earlier in the week, on a Wednesday, I’d again studied Psalm 24 as one of four scheduled lectionary readings. I could lie and claim its verses inspired or troubled me. They didn’t. The day before I’d glanced at a passage about King David. The next day, dutifully following the lectionary for July 15, I spent a few moments with the first chapter of Ephesians. None of those passages, Old or New Testament, did much for me. ‘Tis the truth.

Still, maybe something happened on that dull Wednesday morning when I read 24 for the 24th or 224th time. Did a notion get planted within my consciousness, quietly and benignly, like a seed in the soil?

And there it grew until a few days later—until I woke and wondered, “Why do I still believe in God?” I suspect verses three and four might’ve been the “seed” for my pre-dawn query.

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.

Isn’t the psalmist asking who can be with God? Then the pure-hearted and true-blue soul answer quickly arrives in the next verse. Continue reading →