You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.
[Psalm 63: 1–8]
How do you feel about God?
Do you feel like the Psalmist?
Do you long for God like a thirsty person longs for water?
Many people I talk to often speak about a longing like this about returning to church – whilst still being wary of gatherings. It is interesting when you push them further to find out what they are actually longing for – and it is not always spending time with God! Many long to see church family, to share stories, to enjoy the fellowship, to return to their routine which includes worship on a Sunday.
There is nothing wrong with any of these longings; they are human desires for companionship, routine and fellowship which have been denied during lockdown. But our greatest longing should be for God. As churches look towards reopening, let us remember our longing for God, alongside our longing for human relationships. Even if we cannot return to our buildings yet, let us remember we are still the church, we can still long for God and seek God wherever we are.
I encourage you to read the lyrics to ‘As the deer pants for the water’, written by Martin Nystrom (Singing the Faith, 544).
We desperately desire your presence
We thirst for your love
As we long for fellowship, routine, companionship with others
Help us to hold on to our deep desire for you
You are our heart’s desire and we long to worship you