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Somewhere in the Courts of the Lord

 Belinda (from the archives)

Psalm 84:10 Amplified Version
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand (anywhere else); I had rather be a doorkeeper and stand at the threshold in the house of my God than to dwell (at ease) in the tents of wickedness.

Today I used her Bible, as I often do if I want to search for a scripture passage in the Amplified Version. The cover is red leather and inside of it is a name and date: "Agnes McDonald, 1975." She would have been seventy six that year.

The Bible, that had belonged to her, was one of her many gifts to me during our friendship, which spanned almost twenty years until she died at the age of ninety two. I called her "Aunt Agnes," for "Miss MacDonald," the name by which she was generally known, was too formal, but "Agnes" lacked the deep respect I felt for her as a young woman just in my twenties then. I can't explain the deep bond of connection and love with this woman fifty years my senior, but as I hold her Bible in my hands, I feel it still.

The Bible has the floppy, "well used" feel of a book thoroughly broken in. The pages are sprinkled with her notations, cross references and thoughts. Slips of paper nest between its pages with old sermon notes. I even found a letter from an old friend, whose name I recognized, as Aunt Agnes had told me the story of their friendship (I put that away safely).

Holding her Bible in my hands, I can feel the deep devotion of this woman for her Lord.

I looked up Psalm 84, my favourite psalm, because I was thinking of where she is now, somewhere in the courts of the Lord. I didn't expect the tears that came as I read the first two verses. In the Amplified Version it says:

1 How lovely are Your tabernacles O Lord of hosts!

In many other versions it simply says, “How lovely is your dwelling place.” Aunt Agnes had a hobby, building models of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and teaching about it (the story of the tabernacle is in the book of Exodus).

The second verse says this:
2 My soul yearns, yes, even pines and is homesick for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out and sing for joy to the living God.

She had underlined the words, "is homesick," "my heart and flesh cry" and "sing for joy to the living God." I think of the times I visited her in the nursing home where she spent her final year or so and how a tear would escape from her eyes every time she heard of the homegoing of yet another friend--not for them--for herself, left behind. She felt that everyone up there must be saying, "What ever happened to Aggie?"

Prayer: Lord I thank you that relationships and bonds of friendship are eternal. I thank you today for this special friend, Agnes McDonald, whose legacy I treasure.

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