Advent devotional day 3 [Psalm 122]: Are we there yet?
Today’s text, Psalm 122, is taken from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year A [though we’re in Year B right now]. Psalms 120-134 are known as Songs of Ascent. These were psalms sung as pilgrims made their way—ascended—to the mountainous city of Jerusalem for annual feasts. Psalms were opportunities for God’s people to bring thanksgiving, lament, hurt and the range of human emotion and experience honestly and openly before God.
I’ve never gone on a pilgrimage, but I know what road trips are like. I enjoy getting in the car with family and friends, playlists of good music and the promise of beautiful and ordinary sights ahead of us. In road tripping, the journey is just as enjoyable as arriving at the destination even if there’s always that one consistently asking, are we there yet?
This Advent, consider yourself a pilgrim on a journey. Like the psalmist David, we too are invited to go to the house of the Lord [verse 1]. But it isn’t merely the physical space in which we worship week after week to which we are invited. We are invited to the household of God. The family of God. That’s right, we are kinfolk! We are not strangers on this journey, nor are we alone. We join pilgrims from centuries past and present in planting our feet firmly within the holy city’s gates to know the dwelling place of the Lord [verse 2].
We are not there yet, but soon, we will be.
Water Brueggemann, Old Testament scholar and theologian, writes in Praying the Psalms: “Praying the psalms depends on two things: (1) what we find when we come to the Psalms that is already there; and (2) what we bring to the Psalms out of our own lives.”
So I ask: What are you bringing to today’s Psalm? Perhaps the same exuberance that David displays? Or maybe you’re dragging your feet because at this moment in your life, going to the house of the Lord just doesn’t seem all that great of an invitation.
Let us receive this invitation to go to the house of the Lord with hope and anticipation, knowing that we will be met by the One who offers the peace that this world so desperately needs.
Prayer: Holy One, may we accept with rejoicing the invitation to go to your house; to stand within your dwelling place to receive and share the peace that only you can give. In the name of your son, whose coming we anticipate. Amen.