“On Pilgrimage with the Psalms,” Summer Worship Series

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Psalm 120 is the first of 15 consecutive psalms that bear the title “A Song of Ascents.” The New Interpreter’s Bible tells us that, “It is likely that this collection was originally used by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem or as part of a festival celebration in Jerusalem.” The noun translated as “ascents” is from a Hebrew root meaning “to go up.” As Psalm 122:4 points out, it was decreed that “the tribes go up” regularly to Jerusalem. The noun can also mean “steps” or “stairs,” and it is elsewhere used for the steps of the Temple and steps to the City of David. These pilgrim songs tend to be shorter, with memorable, repeatable refrains, and language that is good to carry with you on a journey.

Summer is often a time when we are traveling, head to the beach with family, or go up to the mountains with friends. It is when our youth go on pilgrimage to Montreat or Massanetta and other faith-filled places. This summer, a group of pilgrims will leave in mid-June and go to sites of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery, Alabama. We go to listen and to learn. We go to experience the Risen Christ in new ways. We go, seeking the God who is already seeking after us. It is our prayer is these Psalms will shape the beginning of your summer pilgrim journeys. Here are the Psalms we will focus on – we encourage you to read and reflect on them before you join us for Sunday morning worship:

May 26:  Psalm 121
June 2:  Psalm 124
June 9:  Psalm 126
June 16:  Psalm 130 and the Commissioning of Youth and Adult Pilgrims during worship
June 23:  Psalm 133