Gathering At The Altar

by | Jul 7, 2012 | Saturday, Uncategorized

I long, yes, I faint with longing

to enter the courts of the Lord.

With my whole being, body and soul,

I will shout joyfully to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,

and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young

at a place near your altar,

O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!

Psalms 84:2-3

 This week, a gift of quiet listening while gazing out my cathedral window at the bird community flitting around their afternoon snack. A circular pew of doves gather at the altar, stilled among the pine needles and shed leaves. Their dusky feathers feign silver under light shower peeking through crooked branches. I’m awed by their reverent hush, the bowing of  heads despite marketplace activity. I’m following their lead into the courts of the Lord.

Want to join me there?

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  1. Sharon O

    Such incredible beauty…in words and in picture.

  2. debra elramey (@elramey)

    Beautiful! The photos have a mystical quality, and the words take you there to that altar.

  3. lolitavalle

    Yes, Shelly. I am with you.

    I stand in awe at our God. For the love He has for us, in the newness of mercies every morning. In the freshness of his breath in the breeze and in the music he plays for us every which way we go. We can never hide from His blinding light, He always is ahead, with, and behind us.

    God, You never fail to amaze me with your grace.

    I love the photos that come with this too, Shelly. GBU!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amen, your words are beautiful. I can hear the longing for Him that comes with fulfillment.

  4. Lynn Morrissey

    Oh, Shelly, your lush, worshipful words about creation take me straight to the Creator’s throne room, straight to His courts in praise. God used Psalm 84 so powerfully in my life when I left the busy marketplace to raise our daughter and lamented the loss of worldly activity. He used this very psalm to remind me that if I longed for His courts instead, He would give me a home at His altar, where even His tiniest sparrows were secure. I learned to long for the living God. And the more I hungered for Him, I could say with the psalmist that “better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere.” I never went back to the frenzied marketplace and the feigned fool’s gold, glittering. Thank you for this exquisite post which reminds me that His dwelling place is lovely beyond measure, lovelier than a thousand, thousand earthly attachments. You are precious, Shelly. Thank you!

    • Jillie

      Hi Lynn…When you say, “I long for the living God…..I never went back to the frenzied marketplace and the feigned fool’s gold glittering”…..I concur! I am a hearth and home woman. Family. And time with my LORD. Nothing else compares, amen?

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Oh no, nothing else compares!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      This verse seems to be one in which many hold on to in seasons of uncertainty. It is quite beautiful. Thank you for your lovely, heartfelt response to this post. It touches me.

  5. Nancy Franson (@nancyfranson)

    Oh, Shelly! Psalm 84 was the basis of my meditation during the days I was hiking. You have NO idea how those particular verses spoke to me during that time–but I suspect you may find out once I start posting about the trip 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I can’t wait to hear about your trip. It is so wonderful how a change of scenery inspires the art in us, isn’t it?

  6. Jillie

    Oh Shelly…I don’t know what it is about this post, but I feel overcome with awe. Your photos are beyond words to me…and to see the sweet little creatures bowing their heads in reverence as they partake of their provision…amid the harried marketplace. This will stay with me. I now desire to draw near the altar…silently…reverently…in awe.

    (Don’t wish to give you MORE to do…but have you ever considered greeting cards with your words and photos, such as today’s?)

    • Lynn Morrissey

      OH amen, Jillie…….greeting cards and a *book*. A meaningful title would be, could be GATHERING AT THE ALTAR. If you would write this, Shelly, we’d all gather with you there at the throne of grace, worshiping the God who makes writing and insights like yours possible, the One who loves us more than sparrows.

      • Redemption's Beauty

        Oh my Lynn, I think you may be my most loyal fan. I am so touched by your support and encouragement, thank you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So grateful for the way God spoke to you. I actually took those pictures out of my writing window. Thanks for your encouragement, I will take it to prayer. I appreciate your support.

  7. Joanne Norton

    I always look forward to seeing your posts with your photos and your thought processing. Loved it. [again.]

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you Joanne, always enjoy connecting with you too.

  8. Jennifer@GDWJ

    To the courts! Yes … Have a blessed weekend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      You too, thinking about you this weekend and hope you get some good soaking rain.

  9. Thelma Nienhuis (@lifeastwo)

    Better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere!
    I’ll be falling asleep with that song in my head tonight!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      You know, I didn’t even think of that song when I was working on this post. It came afterward. Thanks for visiting Thelma.

  10. Dawn

    Right outside that feeder when it’s full of sustenance. Just like us when we enter His courts, He fills us. Such romantic imagaes. Hope you have a quiet night.

  11. Stacy

    …”A circular pew of doves gather at the altar..” Love the imagery.

    What a beautiful God, who woos us to Him, inviting us to come, to enter His courts, to gather at His altar. Just as I am, I come….

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amen. Thanks for visiting Stacy, appreciate your sharing your heart here.

  12. krissiecamealy

    Shelly~ your imagery here is breathtaking. Wow. Beautiful, grace-filled words… Joining you at the window, worshipping along side you

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Kris, I’ll take you next to me at my window anytime. Praying for you tonight and anticipating those babies of yours getting better by tomorrow morning.

  13. eil1een

    What a peace-filled post! Beautiful

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Eileen. Fun to have you here on the weekend. It was a nice surprise for me.

  14. Jean Wise

    One of my favorite verses and loved your peace filled words!

  15. elizabethfstewart

    Lovely photography, and your words are always beautiful too!

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