Advent devotion – December 14, 2009

Scripture – Psalm 122

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” (Psalm 122:6)

Psalm 122 recorded the reflections of pilgrims visiting Jerusalem. They reveled in Jerusalem’s past glories, rejoiced in unity and security, and expressed hope for peace and prosperity.

These themes were profound and far-reaching. Despite Jerusalem’s tragic history of exile and destruction in 586 B.C., the prayer was still to be prayed. Even today, prayer for the peace of Jerusalem is grounded in the unshakable belief a clash of civilizations is not inevitable, neither in the Middle East nor in the world.

The pilgrims rejoiced in the rare unity of the scattered tribes of Israel. Today, that bond of religious unity must be expanded because Jerusalem is a holy city to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

Recalling judgments by the house of David, prayer was offered for political leaders. Today, peace depends on settled political agreements involving moral and ethical judgments from which religious communities dare not shrink by silence or acquiescence.

Above all, security within the walls and towers of Jerusalem was based on shalom, well-being secured by justice.

Finally, beyond human efforts to establish justice, history will be scripted by divine intervention. The ultimate fulfillment of the prayer for peace will be a New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God,” the coming of the Prince of Peace.

Gracious God, in this time of Advent, come to us anew in Jesus, our Savior and Lord, that your peace may reign in our hearts and in the world. Amen.

The Rev. Kermit D. Johnson
chaplain and major general
U.S. Army (ret.)

Order Proclaiming the Good News of God's Peace.

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