Saturday of 1 Lent

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem – Psalm 122

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they prosper who love you! Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers!”

Psalm 122:6-7

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!”  The name, Jerusalem, means “City of Peace”.  The Hebrew word for peace is shalom.  This comes from the Hebrew word shalem, which means complete or whole.  But is Jerusalem a city of peace?  Is it whole?  Today it is a city divided between the Jewish sector, the Arab sector, and the Christian sector.  On the Jewish Temple mount stands the Muslim Dome of the Rock.  Jesus said that this is the city that killed the prophets and stoned those who were sent to her (Matt. 23:37).  It is the city where our Lord was arrested and crucified.  And before His entry into the city, Jesus wept over her, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:42-44).

We are commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  And we should pray for peace in the earthly Jerusalem.  Peace in the Middle East is dependent upon the peace of the Holy City.  But there is also a heavenly peace and a heavenly Jerusalem.  It is for this heavenly home of ours that we are obliged to pray.  In Galatians 4:26, St. Paul says that “the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.”  There is a peace that can be found in Christ, in the gathering of the faithful in the New Jerusalem, but we do not see that peace realized in the Church today.  The Church is as heavily divided as the earthly Jerusalem.  We need to pray for peace in the Body of Christ, that there may be unity found in the saints’ worship of our Lord, whether physically gathered or separated by denominations, color, doctrine, or economic status.  We need to learn to pray with one heart and one mind in Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:27), for it is only in Him and His heart that true peace will reign in His Church.  This is the peace that Jesus promised to give His disciples saying “my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27).  And He fulfilled that promise after His resurrection when He met the disciples in the upper room.  The Risen Lord greeted His frightened followers saying, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).  The peace of God is found in His Son, Jesus.  Our responsibility is to pray that His peace may be made manifest in His Church, and through His Church into the world.

The psalmist begins his song with the words, “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord!”  When the saints come together in worship, Jesus is present.  He has promised that “where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).  It is in His Presence that we find peace, and a measure of sanity in the midst of the discord we find in the world.  We need the peace of Jerusalem.  We need the concord and sanity we find in Christ and His gathered Body.  For it is in Christ and His divine Presence that we are freed from anxiety and fear.  When we lose ourselves in worship and adoration, we find our true self dwelling in the New Jerusalem, the City of Peace.

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