Pilgrims… Hurrying and Waiting

I’m doomed to live in Meshech, cursed with a home in Kedar… (Psalm 120:5 MSG).

This holiday season, I’ve begun reading and thinking through the songs of ascent (Psalm 120-134) with Eugene Peterson as my guide through his classic, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. These fifteen choruses were sung for centuries by the Jewish people as they journeyed “up” to Jerusalem. Three times a year -spring, summer, and autumn, for the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles – God’s people would travel from all over their land to the city built on a hill, Jerusalem, to worship God together.
As they sang these songs, their sense of anticipation for meeting with God would build as they approached closer to the city. Different characteristics of God and of life with God are drawn out as the themes progress from feeling dissatisfied and disconnected, to asking for safety on the road, and finally to the presence of God in temple worship.
Meshech was a region far from Jerusalem in part of modern Russia, while Kedar was closer geographically but distant spiritually as a region dominated by idol-worshipping Bedouins. The Psalmist expresses how far he feels from God as he sets out on his journey, looking for peace but often finding conflict.
Like that Psalmist, you and I are pilgrims. On our journey, we sometimes feel close to God and at other times distant. Christmas reminds us that God came to be with us, and that he’s also coming again. As we Hurry Up and Wait, we can embrace the wonder of this season while holding on to hope for how God will demonstrate his presence in the future. I’m looking forward to worshipping with you over the next two weeks as we prepare our hearts for Christmas.
P.S. Who do you know that needs a touch of the peace and joy that comes from knowing Jesus? Invite them to the Christmas Eve candlelight service on December 24 at 11am, 4pm, or 6pm.

Titus O’Bryant
Teaching & Executive Pastor of Ministries