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Journey to Bethlehem Day 4

Wednesday, December 4 Psalm 122:6-9

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions' sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.

Psalms of Ascent, like the Advent season, are enactments of a pilgrimage. Travelers wading through the rough, broken, and dangerous terrain towards a place of hope: Jerusalem. Christmas! Jerusalem was desired because it was the place of God’s dwelling, home to the Temple. Christmas is the desired destination of Advent because it rehearses God’s coming to dwell among us. What Jerusalem was to the Israelites, the Church is to the Christian. It is, therefore, fitting that we, as Christians, should take up the actions of this passage as our own.
Firstly, we are urged to pray for peace. Interestingly, the focus in not on external foes who seek to humiliate and harm, though they are hinted at with the imagery of “walls” and “towers” (v. 7). The emphasis, rather, is “within” Jerusalem. Three times our attention and prayers are focused “within” this city, place, and people. As Christians, we are to pray for peace “within” the Church for the sake of our “brothers and companions” (8) in Christ. We are to long for and desire the Church to be a place of peace and protection from adversaries outside, yes. But also that peace would “be within you!” That the Church—not a building or incorporation but the people relating to one another in Christ’s name—would be a place and people where encouragement and healing, conviction and comfort are found.
Our second action is to “seek your good” (v. 9). That is, an intentional working towards the good of the Church for the sake of God’s house (v. 9), which is no longer a brick and mortar Temple, but sons and daughters, who, “like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5). As it relates to Grace Anglican Community, what are you praying for and how are you seeking her good?

Gracious Father, you are the King of Peace! May we be people of peace, joy, and life towards one another through all of life’s complexities, in Jesus’ name. Amen!