The songs of ascent (Psalms 120-135) are a collection of psalms which were sung by those making their way to Jerusalem to worship during the great feasts of the Jewish year. Psalm 122 is written from the vantage point of one who has arrived in Jerusalem. The gladness which awaits one at the end of the journey is surely a motivating factor to those making their way, and this rejoicing in the assembling of God’s people should be just as joyful.
However, such a collection of sinners in one place for several days is eventually going to lead to disillusionment. What then? What if having travelled so often just to be disappointed by self and others, you think, “I’d be better off if I just stayed home”? It seems to me that Psalm 122 helps us take on that very struggle as we walk the upward climb.
This sonnet is based upon Psalm 122 which reads:
I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
2 Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!
3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
4 to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good. (ESV)
If helpful you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.
I was glad when they called and said to me,
“It’s time; let’s go up to Jerusalem
To the house of the Lord where we may see
And sing His wonders; in thankful unison.”
As a symphony sing, parts joined together
Fitted and formed in compliment, made one–
One family, one house, one heart, one Father,
United by His decree, by His love won.
But this collection of customs, accents, tribes,
Opinions, crowds, the throng, and commotion
The snickering suspicion and dress down jibes?
I might stay home, keep with private devotion.
No. I’ll pray, seek the city’s peace and rest
Go to God’s house, for His sake do my best.
© Randall Edwards 2017.
This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.