Introduction: There is a book on the Joy of Cooking talking about the delight of eating wonderful foods made delicious not only through their ingredients but also through their presentation. I suspect most of us do not associate worship with the kind of joy we might associate with eating, and yet worship has many of the same opportunities to indulge the senses of smell, sight, and even sound can inform our appetite. Part of my job is to make worship – the valuing of something – to be made accessible through how we do it. Each ingredient in the worship experience can add to the overall experience by deepening our understanding of God and how we are invited to relate to Him.
I). In the 84th Psalm it is a psalm about the joy and wonder of going to the Lord’s House to worship. The Psalmist begins by proclaiming here is a place that the soul desires to be. A place where the living God can be encountered. More than simply experienced he finds it a place of safety where even birds seeking to escape those who would prey upon their young go to seek refuge. The place of God is indeed a goal as one planning a vacation seeks out a time of refreshment and rest so too one’s going to worship is a place of tranquility.
II). Even in the midst of such a vibrant and joy filled psalm one must note the difficulties that one may encounter such as going through desolate valleys. In other words, worship is not always fulfilling . . . at least immediately. There may well be times when we experience droughts and even the lack of God. This should not stop us from continuing to seek God above all else.
III). Yes we must agree that worship is not always simple, or easy and that there may well be times when we must do the work of seeking God out through prayer and faithfulness. Yet, the Psalmist knows of no other joy worthy of attainment. For he exclaims that it is even better to stand on the threshold of the temple outside its wonderful precincts for a moment than to have the chance to dwell for an entire lifetime within the habitations of the wicked. Or even to be a single day in his courts than a thousand in my own living room watching the Colts. Worship becomes such a powerful and important experience that it supersedes any other experience because it gives one a true sense of who we are.