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Sunday, October 27, 2013
Today’s Reading | Psalm 122
I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem —built as a city
that is bound firmly together.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good. (NRSV)
There were three different times throughout the year that the Hebrew people would journey to Jerusalem to worship together (Feast of Passover, Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles). Collectively as a people they would journey the road to Jerusalem for these celebrated feasts and on the way they had a collection of sixteen songs that they would sing. (Psalms 120–135, commonly called the Songs of Ascent). Our devotional text today, Psalm 122, is one of those songs.
In Psalm 122, David is filled with gladness about Jerusalem being a city built for gathered worship. He writes, “Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together.” I think this is a twofold image: yes, the architectural space of Jerusalem was a place firmly bound together, but also, with all of the people gathered together in the city celebrating a feast, the people themselves were firmly bound together. (The word “bound” in Hebrew is related to the word “companion.”)
The Hebrews worshiping together in Jerusalem on a regular basis correlate today with our worshiping together on Sundays. Just as the Hebrews did in Jerusalem, so we too gather together to retell the foundational stories that have been given to us and act out the sacraments which we have been signed and sealed with in Christ. We gather from different places, different callings, and different experiences, and taking these fragments, we put them together and form a single bounded voice in worship to our God. And in this firmly-bounded-together worship, our hearts are gladdened; our mental batteries recharged; we are filled with hope again, because we are reminded of the great work our God is doing in us, through us, and around us.
God, thank you for local gatherings of worship. It gladdens my heart to worship in community. Please, by your Holy Spirit, help me to be a joy-filled worshiper today. Amen.
Written by Daniel Holladay, Senior High Youth Coordinator
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