Psalm 15 (NRSV)
Verse 1O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Verse 2Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart;
Verse 3who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
Verse 4in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the Lord; who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
Verse 5who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.
This psalm, traditionally attributed to David, is likely a liturgy for entering the temple of the Lord. Interestingly, however, the “requirements” for entering are not geared to ritual preparation, but to the integrity of relationships with others. Those who are worthy do what is right and speak the truth; they don’t do evil to their friends or discredit their neighbor. They honor God’s faithful ones, keep their word, and don’t take advantage of others, especially the vulnerable. Such faithful people earn respect and are an example for leading others to God’s house. We all have them in our churches, thankfully. I’ll never forget a gentleman in one of my early congregations, a humble, semi-toothless auto mechanic named Erm. At times a one-man evangelism committee, he visited prospective members virtually every week, and demonstrated faithfulness in every way. Erm was revered by all the gathering community as we entered the sanctuary for worship. May we too celebrate those amongst us whose example of faith and integrity lead others to Christ!
We give thanks, Almighty God, for the faithful witnesses in our lives who have set a good example of how to treat others with respect and integrity. May we, like them, lead by our example as we prepare to ascend your holy hill for worship. Amen.