Lift Up Your Heads!

Lift Up Your Heads!


Psalm 24 (NRSV)

The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
They will receive blessing from the Lord,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory.


This is the perfect time of year for Psalm 24 to be our lectionary reading. It reminds us that the earth and all that is in it is The Holy One's way of showing us Glory. The Psalmist cries to us: "Lift up your heads and be lifted up - let Glory in."

It is easy to spend our days with our heads down. We walk with cell phones in our hands looking down at messages, news that is breaking, or research we are seeking. We stare at our computer screens on our office desks so long that we discover our backs have become curved over the years, and we're looking at our feet as we walk instead of into the world.

The Psalmist invites us to another way of being - to lift up our heads and look out. Why? So the King of Glory can come in. I love the idea of The Holy One being a King/Queen of Glory. This is not world news or the latest crisis we need to handle. This is not about our troubles and worries. Rather, we are to lift up our heads so we might enter into Glory - we are to lift up our heads and see an earth filled with Glory. We can't think our way into understanding Glory. Instead we are to look up, open our hearts and souls and SEE it.

This past Pentecost was a glorious May Sunday. When I woke I saw it, but I didn't really SEE it. I was thinking. I was looking down memorizing the homily I would give at our 5 p.m. Celtic Eucharist. I was thinking about the Holy Spirit and the words I would use to tell the story. I came home at lunch and looked out my kitchen window to my garden - three huge red peonies had just opened announcing a Trinity of Glory. They were breathtakingly beautiful, shining in the noontime sun, smiling for all to see. Nodding my head, I offered a quiet prayer: "Thank you, Glorious One, for helping me to SEE." Amen.


Bless to us, O God, the gift of your glory. Bless to us the wonder of your creation. Bless to us open hearts so that we might lift up our heads and SEE you. Amen.

Susan S. Izard

a spiritual director and Pastor of Spiritual Life for First Church West Hartford

July 08, 2015
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