Reading: Psalm 122
I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together.
That is where the tribes go up— the tribes of the Lord—to praise the name of the Lord
according to the statute given to Israel.
There stand the thrones for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.
As I was reading this psalm, I started by focusing on just a few of the lines. First it was being joyous when going to the house of the Lord, and then praising the name of the Lord. As I was growing up, I was almost always filled with joy when going to church. I liked being among the congregation members. We were one big loving family coming together to worship God. The times I liked best were of course the festival Sundays and holidays when we really rejoiced with music. It seemed those days we took praising God up a level.
Next, I focused on the idea of peace. I especially looked at the phrase “may there be peace within your walls.” So, I looked back at the times when I was not excited to go to church. I realized those were the times when there was conflict at the church and not peace. I realize that not everything is always smooth in the operation of a church. When it comes time to worship, we should remember to lift problems up to the Lord in prayer. Then focus our hearts and minds on praising God. Finally, when it is time to offer the peace to others we truly do that with everyone, no matter where they land on the “outside” issues.
I truly believe many people have left the church over conflicts and could not put them aside to praise God. May we strive to be people who live in peace and harmony so all can rejoice and praise the name of the Lord in our churches.
God of peace, may we too strive to be people who live in peace. Let us always be found rejoicing as we go to your house to worship. May we praise your holy name with words and songs. Help us have peace within our walls so we are not a stumbling block for others. Let our churches be places of peace, security, and praise.