November 30 – Psalm 122 –
I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Our feet are standing in your gates, 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 the statute given to Israel. There stand the thrones for judgment, 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 family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.
The word “peace” in this psalm, as in most of the Hebrew Bible, is shalom. Shalom is best understood as the undeniable presence and knowledge of God in the hardest of times. It is not the absence of conflict or sorrow. It is the resting in a God who abides in our conflict and sorrow and who is bigger than it. When we say “Peace be with you,” we are asking this abiding presence to rest upon one another in the midst of whatever may come.
Prayer: God of Shalom, come now into our hearts and homes and center us with your grace. Give us courage to abide in your steadfastness, knowing that your peace is greater than all of our conflict, all of our sorrow, all of our wonderings. Amen.