Psalm 122 is about pilgrimage—a journey to a place of religious importance. This pilgrimage is an opportunity to join others and travel together to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple.
Imagine that you, your family, and some friends decide to go to Jerusalem. What a joy to savor! Your anticipation grows as plans develop for this journey. Finally, the day comes. You are on your way! You feel a growing sense of joy as you meet others traveling to the Temple—friends, acquaintances, and strangers.
As you journey, you anticipate worshiping in the Temple with those who share faith in God. You remember from previous pilgrimages the sound of the shofar, the quietness as the rabbi prays, the rustling of papyrus as the scroll is unrolled, and the rabbi’s reading the words for the day. The service of worship and the joy of being together promise to make this a memorable time.
Could it be that pilgrimage is a descriptive word for our lives? Must “pilgrimage” always be limited to a particular time and destination? Aren’t we—who are prone to be creatures of habit—also people who seek and find God in many places, praise God in many situations, and serve God in many ways?
As you move through today, make note of ways that today has felt like a pilgrimage. Where did you go? Whom did you see? How did you interact? How did you worship God? Where were the “bumps in the road”? What have you learned about yourself, others, and God from this experience?
Holy One, I praise your name! I am grateful for your presence in my life and for the strength that comes through your love for us. Guide me in my daily pilgrimage so that I may be your witness and live in peace. Amen.
Advent is a season for turning our minds to the coming arrival of the Christ child. Isaiah looks forward to a future day when peace will reign in Jerusalem. All nations will come to hear the wisdom of the Lord. The psalmist rejoices in going up to Jerusalem in his own day. Jerusalem is a center of peace and a place for righteous judgment among the nations. Both readings inform Jewish expectations of a bright future with the arrival of the Messiah. Paul tells the Romans that part of receiving the reality of the Messiah is self-preparation. We should put aside immoral living and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew looks forward to the future return of the Son of God, which will happen at an unexpected time.
Read Isaiah 2:1-5. How do you look to the Bible’s stories, prayer, and the Holy Spirit to help you work toward God’s reign?
Read Psalm 122. What does it mean for you to pray for peace?
Read Romans 13:11-14. How do you stay awake to salvation’s nearness?
Read Matthew 24:36-44. Who in your life lives as though they expect the Son of Man? What does it look like to be ready to meet Christ?
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