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Monday, May 17, 2010

Psalm for Monday: Psalm 48, Verse 4


God is known in her palaces as a stronghold.

The psalm continues to extol  Jerusalem, God's holy city.  However, my commentary continues to focus on the "heavenly Jerusalem."

I ended last week's commentary (May 10, 2010) with the following: "Our goal in each moment is to be mindful and pay attention to our own spiritual self so that we can find the hidden place within.  That hidden place will enable us to enter that realm where there are no separations or divisions, where there is only unity.  Then the challenge is to bring that sense of oneness and unity back to the world in which we all live and to make it a reality here as well."

This week's verse speaks of the palaces of Jerusalem.  The Hebrew word used here is armon ארמון, which can also be translated as a citadel or fortified tower.  But whatever this structure is,  the psalmist makes clear  that its strength comes not from the bricks or stones from which it is made, but from God's presence within.  In the heavenly Jerusalem, since there are no actual physical structures, this makes perfect sense.  But what about in the physical world in which we live?
Within this world I see the palace or citadel not as referring to any building, but to the universe itself.  We, human beings, animals and all of the created world, are the bricks from which this majestic structure is made.   We are part of a structure, a unity, that is glorious as a palace and strong as a citadel.  But what gives this structure it's  glory and  strength?  It is the reality that  we are part of the Oneness of the universe.  In that way, God, or the Divine flow in the universe, is indeed our stronghold.

But should one of us separate ourselves from the One, then we lose that strength that comes from the Divine.  We are like a stone that has dislodged itself from the walls of palace.  When this happens we are most vulnerable to the ego's manipulations and snares.  

That is when we are must likely to falter and become lost.  But if we remember that hidden Presence within each of us, then we will once again find that the Divine is our stronghold and we are once again part of the glorious structure that fills the Universe with beauty and holiness.

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