Up to Jerusalem
Yesterday, we started the climb up to Jerusalem with the Ascent Psalms at Morning and Evening Prayer. Psalms 120 - 134 are thus called because of the Hebrew words which begin each of them "A Song of Ascents". They are often thought to be Psalms which we sung on the journey up to the Temple in Jerusalem.
As Psalms go, they are very straight forward. Most of them are short and refer to God's mercy, greatness the the authors' longing for God. Psalm 130 which we used on Sunday, is a plea to God. (I tend to quote Psalms in the 1662 language which is how I learned them - they kinda stuck that way).
"Out of the depths have I called to thee O Lord, Lord hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications"
121, is a response to God's love.
" I will lift up mine eyes to the hills,
From whence cometh my help.
My help cometh even from the Lord; who hath made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; and he that keepeth thee shall not sleep,
Behold he that keepeth Israel, shall neither slumber, nor sleep......"
Imagine if you will, the tiredness and joy of reaching Jerusalem after a long journey. The gratitude for your spiritual home, the familiarity of prayers and rites and for many the very real aches and pains of the journey.
As we face towards Jerusalem and Holy Week it might be worth our while looking at these Psalms. They encompass so much, and so much is true for us as was true for the ancient singers and writers. Their breadth of feeling and content can cover our lives with ancient words. In a sea of sadness and uncertainty there is truth, and that truth is God, somehow, that truth is God. I will end with some words from Psalm 122:6-end, they mention Jerusalem but can be for any place and any time;
O Pray for the peace oof Jerusalm may they prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls and plenteousness within thy palaces.
For my brethren and companions’ sakes I will wish thee prosperity.
Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek to do thee good.