Where is Jerusalem?

The other day I read Psalm 122, which is a prayer for Jerusalem. As I read, I mentally pictured the modern-day Holy Land, and the Wailing Wall, and the crowded streets I've seen on television but never visited. In other words, Jerusalem seems like a far away place. But I've learned that most things that were important for the Hebrew people in the Old Testament have vital meaning for me today. Sometimes the symbolism is hard to see, and other times it jumps out at me. I had to think about Psalm 122, and what Jerusalem means to me today. When I did, it was like I'd suddenly put on my reading glasses - the scribbles on the page became words, and they made sense.

I'm not a Biblical scholar or anything, just an average Christian believer, so my understanding is probably all wrong. Sorry about that. I'm just thinking out loud here. The Psalm begins:

"I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem." Uh...okay. Since my feet aren't physically standing in the gates of Jerusalem, then the house of the Lord must mean something else for me. Where is the house of the Lord? First and foremost, His house is my heart. On a different level, His house is the body of believers with whom I worship every Sunday and Wednesday - and, in fact, the larger body of believers across the world. It's the Church, of which I am a part. So, given that, the psalm took on a fresh meaning as I read. I'll just share a few thoughts:

Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together. (v3) When the Church operates as it's supposed to, we are a close-knit family. We draw together for encouragement, worship, protection, motivation. When we operate as God intended, we are closely compacted together.

That is where the tribes go up— the tribes of the LORD—
to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel.
(v4) We can say that we go to church to praise the Lord - our local church building - and that's true. But on a deeper level, we draw together as the body of Christ and the deeds we do are praise. Our unity is the statute we've been given - God's intention is for us to come together as His children, and when we do we're acting as One, just as He intended. That is a mighty act of praise for Him.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels." (v7-8) The history of Jerusalem is stormy and full of danger, and full of threat. Likewise, the Church (both now and in the past) is a stormy, dangerous place. It is threatened on so many levels, even physically. At times it seems like the Church's very existence is in danger. So praying for peace and security is a necessary act!

For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity. (v8-9)Those threats I mentioned above don't just come from the outside - perhaps the most dangerous thing of all is the threat from within the Church. One thing that I am sure grieves the Lord a tremendous amount is when His children turn on one another, take advantage of one another, refuse to forgive or help or love each other. One of the most important things we can do is to pray for the Church to have peace within its members. We want the Church to thrive and prosper.

I don't know. What do you think? Maybe I'm completely wrong. Or maybe this psalm is intended to be prayed on multiple levels.

Okay, enough pontificating. Thanks for listening!