Three times a year, the men of Israel were instructed to journey up to Jerusalem and to present their offerings in the house of their God. This was a lot of men! A million at least? Two?
I like to think of these men – brothers, farmers, warriors, poets – singing the Psalms of Ascents together as they travelled along the well-worn paths up and through the hills to the Holy Temple.
“My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth!”
Is there anything more moving than this image? Every man, representing every tribe, united in purpose and prayer, joined in spirit and obedience, hearts and bodies moving ever closer towards their God?
Can two men remain enemies and still sing out loud, “For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good”?
Will a man not stop to help another who has fallen down along the way? Will he not give him comfort and aid? Will he leave him alone in his distress as he walks his own offering towards his God?
For the lame will be carried to the God who keeps them by men who can walk. The ill will be comforted by men rich in compassion. The angry will be walked beside by men who are humble and meek. And the poor will be companions and friends of all men who are wise.
And all men, and their households, will set their faces and raise their voices to the God who guards their lives and all creation. They will journey together – sing together – lifting their eyes and hope to the hills.
“The Lord – maker of heaven and earth – is our Keeper. He will keep our lives from this time forth and forevermore.”
Advent is coming, and there are preparations to be made for our journey! Our waiting looks like walking forward. Like offering ourselves. It looks thanksgiving and helping. It looks like mankind singing for joy.
Our waiting looks like a host from every tribe and tongue journeying together to offer themselves to the “God who keeps their going out and their coming in, now and forever.”
Peace to you and yours as you prepare for the journey.
PS I’m going to *try* and write a simple, not-very-profound, Advent piece each morning based on the season’s liturgical readings. Please join me if that’s of any interest to you at all!
Today’s reading was from Psalms 121-122.