URC Daily Devotion  Sunday 12 February 2023

Sunday 12 February 2023   Psalm 122
Rejoice, rejoice, come sing with me:
“This is the house of God!”
The temple gates swing wide and free–
this is the house of God!
For every tribe and every race
this is the house of God.
God calls us to this holy place–
this is the house of God!

2 In market square and city street
we seek the peace of God.
Before the ruler’s judgement seat,
we seek the peace of God.
In joyful song and whispered prayer
we seek the peace of God.
God’s city can be anywhere
we seek the peace of God.

Adam M L Tice 2010 © GIA Publications Inc
You can hear this sung to Forest Green, the suggest tune, here
CCLI licence number 1064776


Psalm 122 is a pilgrim song. Jerusalem was the hub of Israel’s worship in Old Testament times. At festival seasons people travelled there from around the nation. This is a psalm of rejoicing, loyalty and love. Praise matters, and so does the place where we offer it.
Adam Tice’s metrical setting, which we read today, is lively, emphatic, and attentive to the ancient words of scripture. The phrase ‘house of the Lord’, in the first and last verses of the Old Testament text (vv.1, 9), gathers and focuses the whole psalm. This phrase then becomes the chorus-line for the first stanza of Tice’s version. And as the later verses of the psalm long repeatedly for ‘peace’ (vv.6-8), Tice too leaves this theme in our ears, by using it as chorus-line of his second stanza.
The Hebrew word for ‘peace’ is shalom. It is a big word – wholeness, not just quietness. True shalom speaks of a secure, considerate and loving community, of living that is hopeful, healthy, content and safe, where relationships are good, where people can sleep soundly at night and face each day with confidence and cheer. In this psalm, it seems that praise has led to a longing for shalom. And surely praising God well will always help us to care about community and neighbour, about justice and well-being.
So let our vision and prayers be deep and far-reaching. Let our thinking reach wide too. For Tice has expanded the scope of the ancient psalm, from the tribes of Israel to ‘every tribe’, and from Jerusalem to ‘anywhere’. In Jesus the blessings of Israel were opened up to the world. Because of Jesus’ flesh and death and risen life, all of earth can be holy ground. Let us pray for its peace.
For prayer

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, 
still a focal point for many people’s loyalty and love.
Pray for the buildings where you go to worship, 
for their influence and impact for peace in God’s world.
Pray for the community where you live, 
and for all who work for its good.    


Today’s writer

The Rev’d John Proctor, retired minister, member of Downing Place URC, Cambridge.


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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