1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
Who is invited into your sanctuary, Lord? Do you have an “in-crowd”? You’ve called me to ministry, shouldn’t I know who is allowed in? That way I can block the sanctuary doors from those who may not enter your presence; I can keep your sanctuary holy and pure by keeping outsiders out and welcoming insiders. Tell me, God, who is allowed in…other than me, of course?
2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
Yes. Truth tellers. All truth tellers and sincere people are welcomed into God’s presence. Got it. Tell me more, Lord. Who else is allowed in?
3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends.
OK…about this gossip thing. Help me understand, Lord. Can you define gossip? I would hate to cast someone out of your sanctuary just for a little gossip. Surely you meant something else, right? I mean, who hasn’t hurt their friends at one point or another? Tell me more, Lord. Who else is allowed in?
4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises, even when it hurts.
Even when it hurts?
5 Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.
Then I’m eliminated. I’m out. No rose for this gal. How can I possibly lead your people? I’m not qualified! I use swear words and gossip. I remember when people borrow my office stapler until they bring it back. I don’t even tithe my full 10%.
Gracious God, how many people have I turned away in your name? How many more lives did I block from your sanctuary door, thinking it was my responsibility to protect your holy presence? I’ve done more harm than good.
Lord, in your mercy, hear my prayer: Forgive me.
Protect your Church from all false teaching and preaching which would destroy faith, which would confuse the unassuming, which would distract the seeker, or block the traveler from the path of faithfulness. Send to your Church leaders with great wisdom, hearts warm with love, and courageous lips who speak truth. Send to your Church teachers who build, not destroy; who challenge the wise and extend grace to the simple; who will desire truth as the hungry who follow the sweet smell of warm soup and freshly baked bread. May we long for you and long to make you known.
Make us a redeemed and redeeming fellowship. A movement, marked by the hope of Christ, who is our firm foundation and by whose faith alone we can stand. Amen.