Psalm 84 is a wonderful reminder of God’s care. It’s the one that tells us that even a swallow finds a home in God’s house. Today as I was reading one of my favorite translations of the psalm, I was stopped at verses 7 and 8. Here’s what they said:
Lord God of everything that is, God of my heart, listen to this humble prayer. Defend me now by simply looking at my face. Your look will be for me a healing oil that covers all.
Reading that, I thought of two things I have often heard from a friend whose motivational workshops often included two things, one a statement and the other a question. People need to get in touch with their faces, she says. I used to think of that on the rare occasions when I preached at liturgy. Looking out on the sea of faces in front of me, I was often tempted to shout out, “WAKE UP!” or “SMILE!” (We are very serious or sometimes readying ourselves for the “same old same old” there.) Her question was more direct. When you get up in the morning and look in the mirror to comb your hair or while brushing your teeth, she asks, how many of you smile and say, “What a woman (or guy)!” The audience usually laughs (I know; I’ve tried it.) and then she asks why that sounds funny. We really need to do a better job accepting the image of ourselves that we see in the mirror. We should try to look as if it were God looking back at us. If that is scary, then it’s time to re-read psalm 84 aloud to ourselves and re-assess our image of God.
We just celebrated Thanksgiving and I wonder how many of our reasons for giving thanks included gratitude for ourselves – for who we have become and are becoming. Black Friday is in full-swing by now. Maybe we should buy a little willingness to accept the joy of God’s face looking back at us from the mirror.