If I could have only one chunk of the Holy Scriptures, it would be The Songs of Ascent – that lilting, transcendent collection of fifteen Psalms.[i] After years of returning to this slice again and again, it finally occurred to me to commit them to memory.
They are basically a list of the things in life worth seeking: peace, help, good, friends, good friends, release, freedom, stability, purity, joy, sleep, longevity, forgiveness, simplicity, sanctuary, justice, unity, and blessing.
Memorizing them is a long-view project. I’m only on the fourth one, and that’s a good thing because they’re working on me. I sit in them with intention, and they hum with verve.
I often read the psalms, all Scripture really, from my own perspective. I identify with the storytellers, and the Spirit shows me places where ancient words intersect with my own experiences, pain or joy. The Word is personal.
It expands when read from the human author’s perspective in which it was written.
Psalm 122 is one of four Songs of Ascent attributed to David.[ii] The final verse is a grounded resolve: Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.
There’s a wideness in David’s words that aligns with the character for which he is commended. When David writes this Psalm, there is one house of God. It’s in Jerusalem, a city at unity with itself.[iii] Isn’t that a beautiful description? I want to live in a city like that.
David, a person of great influence, recognizes that the house of the Lord, the tribes, and his family and companions are interconnected. That their wholeness is his own wholeness, and his is theirs.
This is neither grandiose nor abstract. Interconnectedness is cultivated in the small moments, one small caring act or word at a time.
Brené Brown, a researcher who studies shame and vulnerability, calls these small moments “marbles.” Many thanks to Amy Young and her Internet prowess for the video of this talk. It’s called, The Anatomy of Trust.
What the world needs is more love, trust built one marble at a time between friends. Healthy friendships like this spill over and out. They are Kingdom builders.
A person after God’s own heart is concerned for the gathering of God’s people, and for the place(s) that she calls home. She’s a marble jar friend and she makes marble jar friends. She seeks peace and pursues it.[iv]
How many cities, towns, and villages do our readers around the world represent? Have you visited our community map lately? Take a look, dot the map. We’d love to seek the good of your place alongside you.
Psalm 122 is a glad ascent, but it is not always so for David. In 2 Samuel 15:30, he’s climbing the same hill weeping and barefoot, in deep distress. The source of his distress is family and friends turned enemy.
If you’re wounded or weary this Advent, and peace is an apparition, know this: God is seeking you out.[v] Come to stillness, and ask God why He seeks you. I’d love to hear about it in the comments if you get an answer.
[i] Psalms 120-134
[ii] The others are 124, 131, and 133.
[iii] Psalm 122:3
[iv] Psalm 34:14
[v] Psalm 8:4
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