I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!
Jerusalem — built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.
The first word of Psalm 122 is a word of gladness. ‘I was glad,’ to be invited on the journey to God’s house, David sings. He’s grateful and delighted to go to the house of God. And, he’s glad for the journey up the hills with the tribes of the Lord. He’s grateful for what God is doing to hold it all together. And, he’s eager to pray for peace for his community and to seek the good of the kingdom of God.
‘I was glad’ is also the first word of Advent. I wonder what our Advent journey might look like this year if we can join David, receiving with joy the beloved community of God. These days, we too often see a fractured Christian community with frustration rather than with delight and gratitude. This is not new. Truth be told, the tribes journeying together in Psalm 122 didn’t see eye to eye on all of the issues either. Throughout history, there have been disagreements, struggles, and contempt in every community. And yet, David leads the tribes — and us — by expressing gladness for the invitation to join a community on a journey to the house of the Lord. He leads with an expansive and beautiful vision for a community that only God holds together. The community is held together as they journey toward the dwelling place of God. This is our Advent journey.
May our prayers this advent join David’s. May God shape our hearts to see — and to love! — the beloved community journeying toward the house of the Lord. May we receive the invitation to join them with gratitude. And, may we pray for peace, seek the good of the kingdom of God, and journey together with joy.
Becky Starkenburg is the dean of students at Hope College.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.