The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?

Vicars who start their talks with a reference to the weather or gardening – this really irritates me. Mostly because it feels very middle class and slightly elderly. So today, I will start my blog by talking about a garden in the sunshine!

During the lockdown I have been sitting in a chair, reading my bible (or playing online pool) looking out into the garden where I can see a large tree with a hole in it. In the hole, a bird is raising her chicks and coming and going all day with food. The bird (sorry, I don’t know the species) has found a home – a safe and secure spot.

The writer of Psalm 84 looked up during a service in the temple in Jerusalem and what did he see way up in the roof? A sparrow had found a safe place to build a nest. Not too far from the altar.

How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young – a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

There is no place better than to be close to God. The writer says that his soul yearns for God – for the living God. And he is a bit envious of the bird that has found a resting place in the temple – because to live in God’s house is to be blessed.

He’s got it. He’s got the wonderful truth that there really is nowhere better to live than with God and that His presence is the thing to really long for. And the best news of all is that because of Jesus – we’re in! Right in! Even closer than the cheeky sparrow with a nest in the temple roof.

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings (Hebrews 10)

So, let’s live in the reality that we are in God’s presence. Let’s enjoy it. Let’s respond to Him and His voice. Let’s pray with confidence.

10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose way of life is blameless.

May you know God’s presence today.

Love Matt