Day 1: Jerusalem
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’
Our feet are standing within your gates, O 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: 1, 6
The book of Psalms is the prayer book of the Bible, the prayer book of Jesus. I wonder what his prayer was the first time he came to Jerusalem. He came every year for Passover. We are told that when he was 12, he remained behind to talk with the religious leaders. Even so, to me, he would have made the journey every year as a child. The Psalms of ascent (120-134) would have been the Psalms spoken as they climbed the hill coming from Nazareth.
Last night, as I came into the Holy City, there were bonfires on the hills. “I look to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1) As I saw those bonfires, I was reminded of David looking to these hills and seeing the bonfires of King Saul’s army seeking David’s death. Yet, to me, they were bonfires of welcome. Welcome to the Holy City, the house of God.
This morning, I sit and look out at the city of David. I see the Dome of the Rock, the Jewish Center, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. These are the three great religions in Jerusalem. And because this is holy ground for all three, there is often a lack of peace within the city. Yet, this morning, there is peace. The birds are singing, the doves are cooing, and the gentle breeze is blowing.
While I know nothing of this city, except from my studies, I know that God is in this place. I stand within the gates of Jerusalem, it the city of David, the house of God. It is my prayer that this week, that I spend in the city, I may experience the presence of the Lord in a new way. What I have always read about, I will now experience. The sights, smells, sounds that Jesus experienced. The place where pilgrims have journeyed for 2,000 years. I am now one of those pilgrims on a journey.
I want to thank those who made it possible for me to put my feet within the gates of Jerusalem. Today, I am simply in awe. Awe of the presence of the Lord. May we pray for peace in the city of Peace, Jerusalem.