Better is One Day in Your Courts

Better is one day in your courts
Better is one day in your house
Better is one day in your courts
Than thousands elsewhere

Catchy song … Remember it? 

When I first heard this song. I would belt it. Riding my bike! To the air… to the blue skies above. To the Spirit of God joyously bounding along with me, as I imagined Him, as I pedaled my bike fast as I could. That season of my life I was not allowed to go to church. So “church” happened for me on that bike. 

It was my anthem. Better is ONE day in your courts, better is ONE day in your house… than thousands elsewhere. At that time, how I looked forward to the day I could go to church Sunday morning. Somehow I naively believed and trusted, that when I got to church, I would experience what this song is all about.

Somehow, I thought, better is one day at church than a thousand elsewhere.
My well meaning friends, tried to tell me otherwise. They tried. They really tried.
But I had this boundless energy, and joy, of coming to know the love of Christ, that was not about to be quenched.

And I continued to hope, that when I got to church, it would be better one day in those courts than a thousand elsewhere. 

You see… my concept of  “courts” came from the compound in Karachi, Pakistan that my aunt lived in. Her concrete building along with two others, one on each side, forming the shape of a U, were surrounded by a concrete wall with an iron gate in the front. Between the three buildings was a concrete courtyard, it served as a parking lot and the place where children could play safely within the four walls and iron gate. That courtyard, was the one place I felt safe in Pakistan. It kept me safe from the horrors of poverty my childhood mind was unable to comprehend that existed just down a couple lanes.

Of course, there was also a gatekeeper. He was often sleeping in the heat of the day. But it still felt safe. Safe enough for the gatekeeper to take a nap. 

Maybe I thought, that church, would be like that. The safe place from all the trouble in this world. How wrong I was.

When I first began going to my “old-people” church, as I lovingly call it, Sunday mornings, I would come bounding into church. Skipping. Shy of running. I’d sing. Loudly. Down the hall as I came into the church from the back parking lot. Little old ladies, would stop me to tell me how happy they were to hear me sing. They hadn’t seen energy like that in a while!

It took me 7 years, to finally be able to go to church Sunday mornings. And I Was Excited! Better is One day in His courts!  

But soon. Oh so soon. I learned that church, is full, of broken, hurting people. Broken, hurting people, who in their brokenness can hurt each other. “It’s the messiness of community” one friend told me. As Timothy Keller quotes, “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints”. And soon after, I learned, that is what church is about. As I remembered, again and again, I too am a sinner. I soon realized I contributed to the brokeness, and that I can contribute to the healing.

But what happened to Better is One Day in Your Courts!? Better is One Day in Your House!?   That anthem that continues to ring true in my heart. 

I have come to realize, that on that bike, as I looked forward to the future day when I could go to church, on that bike, I was already in His courts, already in His house. Already a part of His kingdom. Already experiencing, Better is One Day in His courts. Already, experiencing His love.

God’s kingdom is not contained within four walls. Wherever He is, wherever we His children are, on this earth: There His kingdom is also. And these courts are so much greater and so much wider, safer, and so much more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. And it is Better, One Day, in His kingdom, TODAY, saved. Than it is unsaved. Better is One Day, knowing the hope of the gospel, than a thousand without. Better is One Day, knowing the God of the universe truly hears my  prayer, than a thousand without. Better is One Day knowing that He. God Almighty! cares for me, than a thousand without. Better is One Day knowing His love, than a thousand without.

How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God. 
– Psalm 84: 1-2
If you know Him, live in the joy of knowing you are LOVED by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Live in the joy of knowing that God Almighty the creator of heaven and earth loves YOU. For you are His precious creation, his child.
Think of a Father who throws his precious toddler in the air and catches him again and again and again. Both lad and Dad laugh with joy of the safety and trust of that relationship. That the lad can be thrown and caught again and again and keep laughing. Live in that Joy. Live in that trust. Live as His child.

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere   – Psalm 84:10
When quarantine is over, and we can return to the four walls of our churches again, I pray we enter with thanksgiving and praise. In fact, I pray, there might even be a skip in our step, just shy of running.

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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