Psalm 132 has a strikingly honest revelation about the human condition. Also, it tells us something even more. We know that pain, challenges, even crises, frame our life. So seemingly there is nothing new at the heart of this Psalm. We know that when pain comes, we turn to God, we need to turn to Him. That is why Psalm 132 starts with the words: ‘Lord, remember David: and all his trouble’ (v.1)
The striking revelation is a positive teaching. The desire to build a temple for the Lord, and working it out, does counteract all the pain and existential crises that can befall on us. ‘I will not suffer mine eyes to sleep, neither the temples of my head to take any rest… Until I find out a place for the temple of the Lord: an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.’
If challenges find us in the midst of building that Temple, we are in a better position to bear them. If not, for those of us, this Psalm is a remedy and resource for rebirth. Why? Because the moment we lift up our eyes to this ‘need of building/creating a dwelling place for God’, our life, we cannot explain how, is given a renewed focus. Inwardly, we become erect, supported by a personal presence. Our life energies return, and there our inner strength, as a gift, is revived.
That is why, this desire to ‘build a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob’, is a core-existential-programme in us. It is constitutive of being fully human; of being a fully functioning human being.
It is a task. It is a pulsating commandment in us. We can live it, we can forget about this task. This building an habitation for God can mean different things, though all are related. Creating that home for God in our souls, in our prayers. It can mean our physical coming to the church, to the building, where God dwells – visiting Him in the Eucharist, and in our services.
And all this, because God wants to heal is, to heal is into a fluent, continuous life. This ‘life being healed’, the building-work on the Temple is to prevent us to be completely discharged, like a battery that reaches 0 %.
At the heart of this constant healing is not our desire for the temple of God. That is why this Psalm is a revelation. It is God’s desire for us to be healed which sustains in us life uninterrupted by spiritual death. ‘For the Lord hath chosen Sion to be an habitation for himself: he hath longed for her.’ What a truth, what a recognition! This healing desire of God, in order to be manifest, needs the physical place of a church, of an altar, of a worship, of an opened Bible. Without the House of God, well looked after spiritually and physically, God’s healing desire will always stay out of reach. There is no other explanation for David’s ‘obsession’ to build the Temple.
(It is worth thinking about this life-giving desire the way in which Freud understood the significance of ‘drives’. Without this inner charge, desire, language, psychological functioning, rational reasoning will arrive to a stalemate. That is why ‘faith in God’ is a life-function of the human being. The life-function.)
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..