1 On Jerus’lem’s holy mountain he has founded his abode. 2 More than all of Jacob’s dwellings Zion’s gates are dear to God.
3 Glorious things of you are spoken, Zion, city of the LORD: 4 “Many drawn from all the nations as your people I record.
“I will name as those who know me Egypt, Tyre and Babylon; Philistine along with Cushite I will count as Zion-born.”
5 Yes, it will be said of Zion, “This and that one here belong; And on her the Highest’s blessing will descend, and make her strong.”
6 “Born in Zion,” God will enter in the peoples’ register. 7 They will sing, as they make music, “All my fountains are in her.”
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this to the tune Sussex here.
In this translation, the Psalm creates a gloriously ecumenical vision where even those nations which, at times, have been perceived as the enemies of God’s people, will be counted as fellow citizens of Zion. Citizens with the same honour, privilege and responsibility, included and counted as belonging, by God. This Psalm reminds me of the story of Jonah whose hatred of Nineveh was well founded, and yet the story reveals that even these enemies of Jonah and his people, God loved and desired to save and draw close.
“Love your enemies” Jesus said but surely if he knew why they were my enemies Jesus might change his mind… or not?
Whether those who challenge us, fight with us, clash with us, those who make our blood boil or who oppose our values at every turn, are individuals, groups, political parties or nations, they are people God loves, desires to save and to include as citizens of Zion, where God hopes we will all sing and make music together.
Holy One, may your wisdom of love and grace, transform my narrow prejudices & perceptions, so that in my encounters today I may glimpse the reality & potential of your glorious Zion, and join in your song. Amen
The Rev’d Fiona Bennett minister at Augustine United Church Edinburgh