Psalm 48 is a celebration of the city of Zion and the temple in her midst, a celebration of the covenant promise that God would faithfully meet his people there. For a Christian this psalm takes on a new significance. Firstly because we know that the Temple, the meeting place of God and his people was a archetype and foreshadowing of Christ, who would himself be the temple, the meeting place of God and the whole of humanity. And secondly because of the wonderful truth that when we are members of the body of Christ, whose body is the true temple, then we ourselves, both body and soul, become a temple of the Holy Spirit, that Christ himself comes into us to a abide with us and in us. No longer need we travel to some outer destination to meet with God, but need only turn inward to find that ‘in our hearts are the highways to Zion’. The temple is already there within us, and Christ is waiting, deep in the mystery of our own heart and soul, if only we will enter those depths and find him. And there, in the depth of our own being he will meet with us, to cleanse us and renew us.
This is especially good news for us as Covid tightens its grip and lockdown looms again. If we are self-isolating, or if our churches are closed again, we can find him in our own hearts and homes where there will be no social distancing, only spiritual intimacy.
As usual you can hear me read the poem by pressing the ‘play’ button if it appears, or else by clicking on the title. For the other poems in my psalm series type the word ‘psalm’ into the search box on the right.
For heaven’s king has made the earth his home
Not just the hill of Sion, but the whole
Round world. Call him from anywhere, he’ll
Come to you and make his dwelling. Hail
Him in any language, he replies
In your own mother-tongue. For now your soul
Is his true Sion, and each day you rise
Already in the city of your God.
So mark the towers and temples, and apprise
Again the beauty of your new abode.
Your soul is greater than you ever knew:
Walk round its walls, then take the holy road
That winds towards its centre, where the new
Temple of his spirit shines and stands,
Where Christ himself is there to welcome you.
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