“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together. That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to praise the name of the Lord according to he statue given to Israel. There the thrones for judgment stand, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’ For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’ For the sake of he house of he Lord our God. I will seek your prosperity.” (Psalm 122 – Prayer, God’s Presence)
This hymn celebrated Jerusalem both as the site of the annual pilgrimages and as the place on earth where God had chosen to reside. The city’s peace was dependent on the people whom God placed there. They had to pray for her peace. To pray for our town and our worship place is one way to pray for God’s Presence with His worshiping congregation.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Dear Abba, this prayer from Psalms is a lament and one we could all learn to follow in our own daily lives; for ourselves, for our family and friends, for our congregations and for our clergy. In this manner, we honor God by humbling ourselves to look outward from our own problems and look outward to those we love and for the love of our church and its mission of looking outward into the world we live in. In the meantime continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“A weakness in our attitude becomes a weakness in our character.”
“This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above he hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house o the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes from many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 11:2-7 – Prayer, God’s Presence)
“In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem will be called holy, all do are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of ion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a fire. Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.” (Isaiah 4:2-6 – Prayer, God’s Presence)
For Israel, the doctrine of the remnant helped to sole the theological dilemma concerning God’s judgment of Israel. How could God punish and destroy a nation which He had promised to keep forever? The answer lies in the doctrine of the remnant. God punished the wicked, but preserved a holy and righteous remnant who would serve Him and faithfully proclaim His name. God promised Israel He would cleansed the remnant of His people. God’s promises remain true. God intends o do goo toward His people. He provides continued protection and care. The passage looks forward to the coming of the Messiah, the Lord’s Branch and only One who has been perfectly righteous as God wants His remnant to be.
SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Blessed in the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you will people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecute the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses it saltiness, how can it be made salt again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” (Matthew 8:5-13 – Prayer, God’s Presence)
Beloved, purity is the end result of a cleansing. To sinful persons, and that is all of us, being pure at the very core of our being is an awesome task. Small wonder then, that Paul spoke so often of our needing God’s mercy and of our rightness being in Christ Jesus. Even a radical doctrine of justification must not keep Christians from striving after purity of heart! The term “peacemaker” occurs only in this passage. The reward of this Beatitude is among the greatest imaginable—-to be called a child of God. The way of a peacemaker is not a weak-need approach to life, but it is a way of courage and it transcends the world’s attitudes and methodologies of bring about change.
As God’s children, Christians are born anew into the new creation and the title implies community. As Christians we are bound to other members of the community of God’s children and all are bound o the head of the community, the Father. No greater privilege exists than to be called sons of God. The sons of God follow the Father in bring peace on earth.