Prepare to listen as you light the 2 purple candles. Pray: ‘To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!’
Prayerfully Read Psalm 122
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. Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. 5For there the thrones for judgement were set up, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.’ For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.
It’s as though the psalmist has taken heed to the call in Isaiah 2, ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the LORD.’ The house of the LORD, the temple, was on Mt. Zion. Jews from all the tribes, from different places and social networks, made their way up there to worship God as one people, a harmonious mix of worshipers. They worship in obedience to God’s decree, not because they feel like it.
How we feel about worship with a community is beside the point. As Peterson observes, “If Christians only worshiped when they feel like it, there would be precious little worship that went on” (1980, p. 50). Authentic worship has little to do with how we feel and everything to do with obedience. We keep worshiping and praying, ‘Peace be within you.’
In Hebrew, the word translated peace is shalom, a rich word that means peace (as in no more strife/war), well-being, a life that flourishes well. It’s a word that “gathers all aspects of wholeness that result from God’s will being completed in us,” as Peterson notes (1980, p. 52). When we pray ‘peace be within you,’ we’re asking God to go deep, touching and healing all of creation.
For whom (individuals or communities) can you pray today, ‘Peace be within you.’ Name them before the Lord.
Respond to Jesus
Jesus, you came to bring peace, that peace that goes deep within our being and changes attitudes and behavior. As I long for your presence, grant me peace that I in turn may give peace to those I meet today. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world, where peace is an urgent need.