Psalm 122

A number of psalms are appointed for Morning Prayer today, but my eye lit on Psalm 122 as the one bringing a memory flooding back.

On pilgrimages to Jerusalem, when I have with me pilgrims who have never visited the City before, I like to stop the coach and pause before we enter.  Bear in mind that this is on a dual carriageway, with the lights of a modern city around and before us, the flashing past of cars, the buzz of a modern 21st century metropolis.  

I ask the bus driver to pull over into a lay-by, switch off the engine and we all pause, take a breath, wake out of sleep for those who are dozing on their way from the airport, and take stock.  In a matter of moments we are to enter the city; the lights of the motorway will go, the old city will become apparent; the ancient place that we have known-of since childhood; the place of so many events of which our minds are full - we shall be in it.

I remind people of these facts, then I turn up this psalm that speaks of a prayer for peace, of our feet standing within the gates of the city, and we pray.  Ever will this psalm be linked in my mind with the first moment of entering Jerusalem.  For me, it was 26 years ago (18th January 1995).  Every time it is special, but for the first time it is a moment to ponder deeply, and contemplate what occurred here in our Lord’s life. For many it has brought tears of deep emotion of both sorrow and joy.

John Mann