Come Home

Psalm 137: 4

How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

I encourage you to read this whole psalm. It is very Jewish, but I think when you ponder it you will appreciate how the Jews feel about Jerusalem and that might even inform our hearts about our own “homeland.” I read a novel in which the lead character is Jewish and visited Jerusalem as part of the storyline. The author conveyed a sense of homecoming in quoting this psalm and it changed my perspective.

This psalm is about the Jewish captivity in Babylon. Their captors wanted them to sing and dance but how could they rejoice when their hearts felt divorced from God. The separation was too keen. As I read this, I realized this sentiment is not so different from what we all routinely experience. How can we rejoice when we sense our separation from the Lord? Conversely, isn’t praise and jubilant worship easy in the presence of the Lord?

When we feel stressed, we often also feel estranged from God. There are other things which separate us from our confidence in His presence. Busyness certainly pulls us away from our intimacy with the Lord. I think sometimes this has more to do with the difficulty in getting our minds to relax enough to sense Jesus’ presence right next to us. It is though we are traipsing through the desert, isolated from Him though He is in the cloud right in front of us. We are the lost tribes, feeling like sojourners in a foreign land.

Here is my advice – come home! Come home beloved! “How do I,” you ask. You get alone in the quiet space. Give yourself enough time to quiet your physiology and then quiet your mind and spirit. If you are challenged in this, don’t worry, so was I. There were few moments in my existence where peace and quiet permeated any aspect of my being. I learned how to quiet myself and as I practiced, I got better and better. It is a process for many of us so don’t lose heart. Coming home means finding that space in your existence where you can connect with the Father. When you do connect, you will know you are home. When you connect you can easily sing the Lord’s song, and I hope you will.

Peace and Prosperity

Psalm 122: 6

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.”

As Christians, we have an interesting heritage and lots of homes. Like the Jews we have roots in Jerusalem as our home because we have been adopted into the family of Abraham. So, through our adoptive family, our roots lead back to Jerusalem. At some level, Jerusalem is our ancestral home. We also look forward to the new Jerusalem in which we have a part. Our current home is as much, one might argue more, in heaven in the New Jerusalem as it is here.

The most important thing to realize is that we are tied to the health and well-being of Jerusalem. We ought to pray for the peace of Jerusalem because, if for no other reason, our own wellbeing and prosperity are tied to her. All who love and honor her are blessed with prosperity in all aspects of life. This applies to us as individuals and as a nation. It goes well with us as it goes well with Jerusalem.

I have heard some beautiful prayers for Jerusalem, and you may count this psalm among them for that is what it is, a prayer for Jerusalem and those who love her. As Christians we may feel that Jerusalem is remote from our experiences, but she is part of our heritage and lineage. We do well to pray for Jerusalem and for the peace of that holy city for in her security lies our own. It is the land of Jesus, the very streets he walked and because of that our hearts are tied to her as well. Peace for Israel, peace for Jerusalem and peace for each of us. I do believe that to be a good prayer.