The Requiem Series
This 8-part series explores the contours of grief and Christian hope, and highlights the biblical passages interpreted by Johannes Brahms in his classic chorale work, A German Requiem. For a deeper dive into both the Bible and the music, see Carol Bechtel’s curriculum, Sowing Tears, Reaping Joy: The Bible and Brahms’ Requiem (Kerygma 1996; Sowing Tears, Reaping Joy ).
Read: Psalm 84:1-4
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
The author of Psalm 84 is jealous…jealous of the priests who live at the Temple in Jerusalem “ever singing God’s praise.” In fact, he even is jealous of the sparrows who build their nests at the altars in the Temple’s open-air courts. His logic is, “If even the sparrow is welcome there, then surely I will find a safe haven there as well.” His longing for God’s beautiful house is so strong that he is literally fainting for them. The mere thought of his destination makes him sing for joy.
If you’ve ever been on a long journey toward a beloved destination, you’ll know that the mental picture of that place exerts a powerful pull on your spirit. That’s how the psalmist felt about the Temple. And it’s how believers should feel about God’s heavenly Temple.
In yesterday’s meditation we focused on the fact that everyone dies. Today’s text reminds us that the grave is not, in fact, our ultimate destination. Thanks to Jesus Christ, the grave has become an open door. It opens onto God’s heavenly house of worship. It’s a picture that exerts a powerful pull…and gives us strength and hope for the journey!
Prayer: Help us to keep our eyes on you, O God, and on the beauty of our ultimate destination.
Listening option: Brahms’ Requiem, Movement 4