The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?
One of the things that made me more open to the idea of becoming a Christian was “The Blues Brothers” movie. Why? Because it made church look cool. The heroes, Jake & Elwood, are told by Cab Calloway that they need to “Get wise. You get to church.” So they head down to the Triple Rock Baptist Church, the house of the Lord, to hear Reverend Cleophus (played by James Brown). They hear from God – and the movie gets underway. The Triple Rock Baptist Church was exciting – I wanted to find a church like that.
They were told that if they got to the house of the Lord, then something might happen – they might meet God. Psalm 122 is our pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem longing to be in the house of God:
1 I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ 2 Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.
Our pilgrims walking toward Jerusalem are thinking and singing about their destination – the city which contains the house of the Lord (the temple). Verse 2 is them saying that in their minds and hearts they are already there – even though they may have miles of journeying still to go. It’s like feeling the sand and sea on your feet when you are still in the airport waiting to board your plane.
They are excited to be getting to Jerusalem – to the place of the kings – and to the temple of God. They are praying for blessing on the city – for peace (please keep praying for peace on Jerusalem – they really need it!).
I’ve been at church services which have started with verse 1: ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’. But, and it’s a big but – is this the house of the Lord? Whether it’s the temple in Jerusalem or the Triple Rock Baptist Church in Chicago – are they the house of the Lord?
I would suggest not – and so would the book of Hebrews in the Bible:
5 ‘Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,’ bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
What is God’s house? We are. The people who know Christ. They are God’s house. There’s nothing wrong with a building to praise God in – but the house of the Lord is God’s people – this is where God lives.
So when I read Psalm 122, I may pray for Jerusalem, but I turn the prayers into prayers for God’s house – God’s people – for their peace & security. I encourage you to do the same:
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’ 8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’ 9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.
Have a blessed day.