I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1
This verse has a very special place in British history. It has been used upon the entrance of the monarch at every coronation since that of King Charles 1. Since 1902, Hubert Parry’s magnificent choral setting of the psalm has been sung. It captures beautifully the joy and celebration of this very special occasion. The roots of this psalm go back thousands of years to the time when pilgrims would use these words as they climbed up the hill to Jerusalem and anticipated the incredible joy of worshipping God in the temple.
There is no building in Christianity which is the equivalent of the temple in Jerusalem. With the coming of Christ, a new covenant was established, in which God sought to build a new temple not with stones or bricks but in the lives of those who worshipped him. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “Don’t you realise that all of you together are the temple of God and the Spirit of God lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Our circumstances are very different from those of the psalmist, but we can still experience the same joy of meeting together with God’s people for worship. We can still look forward to the experience with gladness and anticipation because, as we meet together, God will be there with us. We can expect that people will be inspired, encouraged and strengthened as we worship. Some will come to worship with heavy hearts and, during the worship, their burdens will be lifted. Others will come with an acute sense of sinfulness and, as they meet with God, they will find the forgiveness which God loves to give to those who are willing to receive it.
The next time you worship God with other Christian believers may be very different from a coronation! But I hope you will be glad to be there.
What are the things that make you glad to worship with other Christians?
Loving God, I thank you for the blessing and encouragement of worship. Help me never to take this privilege for granted. Amen