I hope you read Psalm 121 today. It is a short Psalm, only 8 verses, but because it is short, it can more easily be committed to memory. That's probably how most people sung and heard this Psalm, listed as one of the Songs of Ascents - words of inspiration sung as travelers approached the Holy City of Jerusalem, which sat on a plateau to which travelers would climb.
It must have been a remarkable and uplifting site to see the Holy City on a hill from a distance, knowing that you were nearing the place where God was thought to dwell among God's people. Traveling was hard, most of it walking or on the back of slow-moving beasts. Weary travelers were inspired when they could look up and see Jerusalem - when the could lift their eyes and see the home of God.
The weary travelers knew the end of their journey was near. Not only was traveling long and tiring, but it was also dangerous. Roads between cities were unprotected, wild places, where many were set upon by robbers, or wild animals. Seeing the Holy City meant they were nearing the end of the danger, moving to a place where the God of all creation, the God who never fails to keep watch, the God who protects God's people made it home.
When you read this Psalm, think about coming home after a long journey, and the return to familiar comforts, welcoming faces, and rest for the weary soul. Then lift your eyes heavenward in the same way those Jerusalem travelers did millennia ago, and remember that the God who created it all will keep your going out and coming in from this time on and forevermore.
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About this website
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church (GA) in New York City has been chosen as one of eight internship congregations to participate this year in a church-wide initiative designed to increase our understanding of Holy Scripture and most importantly, to cultivate our engagement with it. In partnership with The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Vicar John Heidgerd will be working to develop innovative ways to deepen our faith formation and sense of discipleship for the sake of ourselves and our communities.