Pilgrimage – 2016.09.27

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 statue given to Israel.
Psalm 122,1-4

This is a psalm of pilgrimage and one senses the anticipation of communal worship. When one has gone a long time without communion with other believers and without praising God together with other believers, then the longing is great! This communion of believers worshipping together is huge, glorious and wonderful! It puts God in motion so that He can prove Himself to His people. Communion with others and with God is where fulfillment, joy and rejoicing takes place! That is where God’s right hand is active and works miracles!
A (fictitious) story: we were on our way to a big Christian festival. The bus was full, but it was spacious enough that everybody was comfortable. Full of joyous anticipation we started singing songs of praise. We were excited and full of expectation;- so good to be amongst siblings! But after half an hour the rustling of papers began as people started unpacking their sandwiches and biscuits and started to eat. That spread through the bus like a slow wave. The singing got quieter and quieter, and the munching got louder and louder. After lunch the people got comfortable with their pillows. But many began to complain because they had had no hot coffee. They wanted their usual comforts. After the break the bus travelled on, but the pleasant atmosphere was gone for good. Some had left the bus, others complained because it took too long… the journey that had started off so well was now governed by discontent.
Our congregations are similar. We really want to worship the Lord, experience communion and experience Him. But the comfort and pleasantries of life win us over. We make compromises so that people don’t leave our congregation. We really cannot demand too much of them. But the fulfillment of our pilgrimage, the encounter with our living Lord, cannot be achieved under such circumstances.
So we want to seek communion with siblings who are serious in their search for this goal, and embark on our pilgrimage together with them. He is our destination, and around Him is rejoicing, joy, worship, dance and cheering! He wants to do great deeds for His people if they praise Him together.

Yes, Jesus, we seek You! In Your presence there is rejoicing, joy, dance and praise! Because You fill our hearts with great joy. Lord, the journey is long and sometimes difficult. But You always help. Help us not to be tempted by the comforts, the complaints and the greed for luxuries! Send us Your Spirit of gratitude, thankfulness, hope and faith!

Bible study for today: John 7,1-13

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