But first, a commercial!
First off--and I'm not sure how many of you will know of this band (I know at least three who read this blog will)-- but there's this Christian band called Waterdeep who put together a praise and worship album several years ago called Enter the Worship Circle, and one of the songs--Land of the Living--is based on this, so the melody invariably starts up when I read this. For those of you raising your eyebrows at an Orthodox Christian who's (still) listening to a praise and worship album, normally, yes, I eschew such things, but these guys are an exception, big time. Most of the songs' lyrics are psalms, almost verbatim, and the artistry--not to mention the singers' mystical leanings and humble hearts--is awesome.
And apparently the site doesn't feel the need to post the lyrics to ONLY this song. Sigh. Here goes...
So. Good stuff. Now back to our regularly sheduled program...
One thing I ask of you,
This is what I seek
That I may dwell in your house
Feel Your presence wash over me
One thing I ask of You,
This is what I need
That I may hide in Your hand
Feel Your presence all over me
But I am confident
Of this one thing
That my eyes will be blessed
When they gaze upon your beauty
And my lips will be sweet
When they whisper words of praise
And my heart will be dancing
When it knows that You are with me
And I will see Your goodness
In the land of the living
I always tend to see--as those of you who read can attest--the opportunity to encounter the Persons of the Holy Trinity in any situation as the ideal motive for anything we do. Seeing such as ideal and actually persuing such in one's own life are two very different things, of course, but it's a start...and I guess that's why this psalm sticks out; Prophet David knew how to encounter God, or at the very least desperately wanted to:
4One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.Metr. Anthony Bloom, of blessed memory, wrote that the problem with many peoples' prayer is that they approach God in prayer wanting something other than God (I'm paraphrasing horribly; forgive me)...and this something can be anything from worldly power to healing to even holiness (because we all know how great holiness makes us look in front of other people). No, the Metropolitan exhorts us, none of these ulterior motives are legitimate substitutes for a desire for an encounter with the living God in prayer, a soul-to-soul union with the Godhead. Moreover, these other motives are the reason why some of our prayers are so fervent and others are mechanical and cold: we have moved away from the true object of our heart's desire while in prayer.
5For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
7Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
9Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.
13I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
David got this. Holy Prophet, pray for me.