The House of the Lord – Focus Scripture: Psalm 122:1
Psalm 122 is about the pilgrimage of a Jewish devotee who traveled to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate one of the important festivals of Israel’s faith tradition. In this particular psalm, the festival is over, and the pilgrim is now ready to return home. After summing up his impressions of the city, the pilgrim offers up a prayer for the church. I believe that the modern-day church, as the body of Christ, is also in need of prayer. It needs to seek peace actively and pursue it diligently, for the peace of believers depends on the peace in the body of Christ.
The psalmist asks for blessings for all those who love the church. They are the people who value the faith community as a place for friendship, fellowship, hospitality, and festivity! This is just as true today as it was at the time the pilgrim took his journey. I believe that the things that made for peace within Jerusalem of that day are also the things that make for peace within the modern-day church.
The modern-day church should be a place of grace and hope – where people can go to find fellowship, support, and safety. It should be a place that cherishes human dignity and rejoices in the fact that we are children of God, made in God’s image. Not only that; it should be a place where people seek the heart of God and God is pleased to enter the hearts of the people.
The modern-day church should be a place where people love their neighbors as themselves and where everyone seeks to love God above all else. It should be a place where stumbling blocks have no place, and petty differences are put aside for a greater good. All should be well in the church community when people live for God’s sake and for the sake of their fellow human beings. Finally, the modern-day church should thrive when it embodies justice and love – those things that God intended for all of God’s people.
We should be glad when they say to us, “let us go into the house of the Lord.”
Merciful God, I pray for the church to be a place of security and refuge for people in need of sanctuary. Amen.