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Saturday, May 23, 2015

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)

Jerusalem is a complicated place. I had the privilege of being there a few years ago. On one hand it is beautiful city, and on the other hand it is a confusing city. The psalm speaks of Jerusalem as a destination, a pilgrimage destination. So long ago anyone would have been excited to have traveled, likely by foot, for miles and miles and then finally gain a glimpse of the magnificent temple way off in the distance. For the tribes of Israel, the temple was where God lived. To be in that temple, if only for an hour or two, would have been awe-inspiring.

Beautiful, complicated, and holy. Today Jerusalem is still a holy site. It inspires Jews and Christians and Muslims, because it holds so many of our shared memories as people of God. But there is little peace in Jerusalem. The state of Israel is threatened by nations surrounding it, and it is also a threat to those same nations.

It is still important for us to pray for peace in Jerusalem, as the psalm instructs. Peace would be realized if justice could be achieved. Pray for peacemakers working for justice in Jerusalem and in the West Bank and in Gaza. Peace in Jerusalem would be far more awe-inspiring than the sight of the magnificent temple far off in the distance. God would be so pleased.

Dear God, thank you for peacemakers working in fractured environments. Sustain them with your grace and our prayers. We pray for peace in Jerusalem. Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

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