Friday, December 16, 2011

Psalm 122 – Peace for Jerusalem

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers’.”

~Psalm 122:6-7 (NRSV)

The third in the Songs of Ascent is a solid hymnal offering for peace. It is centred on the Temple experience; the physical attainment of the Lord’s city by the pilgrims. And the connection is made between the city and its Lord.

In our contemporary day, this psalm is not merely a Temple hymn—a song of Zion—it’s very much an exhortation for the achievement of the presence of peace; the long sought-after yearning of Jerusalem. And we weep for its historical lack of peace (Luke 19:41-44).

The Traditional Significance of Jerusalem

As is characterised by verses 7-9, peace for Jerusalem, tranquillity within her walls, was of critical importance for the safety of friends and relatives alike.

Imagine entering the city gates, standing physically in the city—even a New Jerusalem, replete with shining lights—and we are at home to peace. This is the intrinsic hope of the pilgrim as they enter the place of consummate calm.

As we imagine David writing this psalm prophetically, hoping beyond foreseeable hope, he looks forward to a time of peace for the chosen of God, to be in their homeland, where safety abounds.

Incredibly, the significance of Jerusalem is betwixt in a plethora of religious misfortune, known through the ages from beginning to now.

That this Great City has not enjoyed the peace it richly deserves demonstrates its own theological significance; there will come a time when that significance will truly be rewarded. And peace will be that end.

The Personal Significance of the Jerusalem Within Us

Within any city lives the city of souls and each one is a city of their own significance to God.

Such a God we know and love has given us the power of dominion over our own lives, to choose as we see fit—and, who will be our Lord?

There is only peace if our right of dominion is entrusted back to God, that the warring factions competing for the Jerusalem that lies in our hearts might be quelled. Indeed, such a Presence would pervade in, over, and through us—that, at last, there would be safety for all personal stakeholders—the mind, the heart, the child within, the acceptance of all dissonant thought. Then we would be at peace.

And as this peace is borne over our reconciled souls, it is made copious for sharing, and the house of the Lord that is our lives is blessed interminably.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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