“How beloved are your dwellings, O Lord of Hosts; my soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. For the sparrow has found herself a house, and the turtledove a nest for herself where she may lay her young, even your altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in your house; unto ages of ages shall they praise you.” (Ps 83: 1-5, Septuagint-translation)
Psalm 83 is the first of the three psalms chanted at the final service of the daily cycle, the Ninth Hour. It is usually chanted in monasteries at the end of the workday, in the early evening and right before Vespers, which begins the liturgical cycle of the next day (because the liturgical “day” begins in the evening). As one can see in the passage quoted above, Psalm 83 can help us, at the end of a workday, to “come home” into the “dwellings” and “courts” of the Lord of Hosts.
This is true also for those of us who do not “come home” into a church every evening, – nor even on a weekly basis anymore, now that our churches are closed because of the Coronavirus. The words of Psalm 83 can be helpful for me as my workday draws to an end in the middle of a now very-quiet Vienna, to retrieve my sense of belonging to the Lord’s “house,” and “dwelling” in it, in His presence in my heart. Today, on this third Tuesday of Lent, let me carry a verse or two of this Psalm with me, even as “my soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord,” so I can use it, nonetheless, to “come home” to my King and my God at the end of my day: “How beloved are your dwellings, O Lord of Hosts; my soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God.” Happy Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent, dear friends! Tune in to our daily, weekday “Morning Coffee” audio-podcasts, for some daily inspiration on your Lenten journey, and through this Coronavirus epidemic! Sign up at: patreon.com/sistervassa. Love from Vienna, Sister Vassa