How lovely is thy dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My spirit longs and pines
for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh give a shout of joy
for the living God!
Even the wren has found a house,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may put her young.
Even thine altars, O Lord of hosts,
my king, and my God.
Psalm 84: 1-3
The psalmist is singing about his delight in the enormous and beautifully decorated temple in Jerusalem - God's house containing the Ark of the Covenant on Mount Zion. When we go to one of these great American warehouse stores today, containing over a million products (the thingdom come!) often we see and hear noisy sparrows that have somehow gotten in and made themselves at home. The temple in Jerusalem had many openings and apparently swallows built mud-nests against the high walls near the altars where they raised their families.
The psalm-singer isn't giving us a bird study or trying to charm us, but giving an image of the soul - joyfully delighting in God, finding security in God, taking pleasure in being near God, entrusting to God what's most precious to us.
As a boy growing up on Long Island in the 1950's and early 60's, I recall my father taking me one Sunday afternoon for a drive out east along the Sunrise Highway and our visiting the small the wooden churches each village had, some time before the population explosion which required the building of new mega-churches. The churches were all dark, except for the vigil lights which still burned after the last Mass: the smell of wax and the moment when the flame jumped from the wooden stick to the wick of the candle in the blue or red glass, the little glow at the end of the stick after it was blown out, the whiff of smoke and then the silent prayer which acknowledged an invisible world. "...even my flesh gives a shout of joy..." All sufficiently soul-impacting that it's easily and clearly remembered more than a half century later.
In a book length interview Pope Benedict shared that on the day of his ordination to the priesthood, upon returning to his sanctuary seat after the bishop ordained him, a lark flew into the cathedral and sang and sang from the rafters above. The pope didn't make too much of it, but he did say it seemed to be a lovely sign, "You're on the right track."
I imagine everyone has some memory of experiencing a particular joy and pleasure in God. We might take a few moments to gratefully acknowledge and ponder it.