Room For All (Psalm 84:3)
How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Sheldon Manor is the oldest continually inhabited manor house in Wiltshire. It dates back to the 13th century and has a 15th century chapel. I once visited it when it was open to the public. I remember there was a notice on the chapel door which read:
Please leave the door open for the swallows.
Rather than the chapel door being kept closed to keep the birds out, they were welcomed into the chapel where they were building their nests. What a beautiful picture that is for us. It reminds us that the door to God’s presence is always open, and is open for all.
Jesus promises that whoever comes to him will be welcomed, and the writer to Hebrews urges us to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
Swallows and sparrows are not particularly important or impressive birds; in fact they seem quite common and rather insignificant. But no-one is unimportant in God’s eyes. Jesus reminded us to look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26)
God’s loving provision of all that we need is more than we can ask or imagine. He makes space in his house for the sparrow to have a home and the swallow to build a nest. His care for us is extraordinary, and there is room for each of us in his presence.
Thank you Lord that Jesus has made a way back to you so that we can approach you with confidence. Thank you that when we come to you, you never turn us away. Thank you that the door into your presence is always open and you meet our every need. Amen.
Margaret is the mother of our regular contributor, Emma. She lives in Cambridge and is a member of Christ Church. She teaches English in one of the Cambridge schools.