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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
     from where will my help come? 
My help comes from the Lord,  
     who made heaven and earth.  

He will not let your foot be moved;   
     he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel   
     will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;   
     the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,  
     nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
     he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep   
     your going out and your coming in
     from this time on and forevermore. (NRSV) 


Psalm 121 is a “psalm of ascent,” a psalm sung to or by pilgrims as they made their way up to the temple in Jerusalem. It is meant to be a song of joy and assurance of God’s steady, guiding hand through an arduous and costly passage.

A pilgrimage is a special kind of journey. For example, Christian pilgrims journey to Israel to see for themselves the places where Jesus walked. A pilgrimage begins with a yearning and ends with a greater sense of wholeness. In the middle is the journey.

You could say that each of us is on a bit of an interior pilgrimage. We all yearn for something inside, something we believe will give us a greater sense of wholeness. The benefit of a more conventional pilgrimage is that there is a definite destination. One can buy a ticket and pack a suitcase. An interior pilgrimage is likely to be much less concrete.

The good news is that God honors both types of pilgrimage, both types of ascent. The One who journeyed here for us knows the certainty of dates and destinations and the ambiguity of hope. Christ knows the importance of our bodies, our selves, and our relationships. And so the words of the psalmist give us the reassurance of God’s strong, guiding hand: “The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; he shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”


Holy God in whose sight we do live and breathe, hear our prayer. The journey is sometimes long, and the night can be fearful. Guide our hearts to go where you lead us, to trust wholly in you and in your love for us. Be our traveling companion in this and every journey. Amen.

Written by Patty Jenkins, Director of the Center for Life and Learning

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