Tuesday, 30 April 2019

I was glad...

I was glad when they said unto me: We will go into the house of the Lord.
Our feet shall stand in thy gates: O Jerusalem.

These words from Psalm 122 are amongst my favourite verses of the Bible. They’re from a sequence of Psalms known as the Psalms of Ascent - 15 Psalms numbered 120 to 134. If you haven’t read them recently, take a look - none of them is very long. And I think it’s appropriate that the Book of Psalms itself is more or less in the middle of the Bible - it’s at the heart of our faith, at the centre of what we believe, but also reflects so well the human condition and our struggles in the midst of joy and sorrow.

The Psalms of Ascent themselves were probably first used by people on pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. They’re sung by people who love that building, who find God’s presence there and who long to worship in it. It’s a building set in a city: that city of Jerusalem which represents above all others the adversities, tensions and strife of centuries but which is at the same time a dwelling for God - a herald and a hope of the heavenly city still to be established.

How do I feel now that we have “moved back” into St. Cuthbert’s Church? I was glad… It made me want to sing, and I did a little dance once the heating engineers had moved out. Psalm 126 expresses the feeling of God’s people when they return from exile in Babylon:

When the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion:
    then were we like unto them that dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter: and our tongue with joy.

But it’s not easily achieved. “Getting our church back” has been hard work. There are so many thanks due to those who have worked over the last 15 months to bring us to this point. That’s why it will be good to bring all this into a service of thanksgiving led by our Bishop on Sunday 19th May. Not much notice - but now is the right time! We’re so glad he can join us right now! And remember the truth expressed in Psalm 127:

Except the Lord build the house: their labour is but lost that build it.        MJ

No comments: