Loving the Gates of Zion

Sunday morning’s sermon taught me a thing or two about church. And about Psalm 87. Verse 2 says, “the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.” Before Sunday, I would not have known how to explain that verse. The meaning is surprising: Zion is church (the gathering of God’s people to worship Him) and the dwelling places of Jacob are homes. God loves when we worship Him in church more than He loves when we worship Him in our homes.

If that wasn’t in the Bible, I probably wouldn’t believe it. I like to worship at home more than I do at church. Church is stressful. Getting ready for church is the most stressful. Having a child fall asleep in evening church only to be awake afterward until midnight is not something I look forward to. But it doesn’t matter what I think. We go to church because that’s what God wants. That’s where God will bless us the most. I don’t know what kind of blessings they are. They are probably the invisible-to-the-human-eye type of blessings. At least for me, when going to church is often hard to do. I do believe that God does bless us, though.

During the silent prayer at the beginning of worship, I sometimes pray that our worship be a pleasing aroma to Him. I think that’s part of why God likes us to worship together as a church body; the prayers and songs and praise rise to Him in a fuller sense, like the aroma of an entire garden. It has more depth than the smell of a single rose.


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