Saturday of 3 Lent

The Lord bless you from Zion! Psalm 128

“The Lord bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!”

Psalm 128:5

“No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” (John Donne, Meditation 17)

The man who fears the Lord is blessed.  But he does not keep those blessings for himself.  He extends his interests beyond himself and his family.  He seeks blessing for his community and for the whole people of God.  He is “a part of the main”.  The promise of the preceding verses of Psalm 128 becomes a prayer for blessing on all of Jerusalem.  The man of faith knows that.  He knows that his own welfare is tied up in the welfare of the whole community.  Once again the prayer for Israel’s welfare is repeated because the hopes of all that fear the Lord center in Jerusalem, for all their springs are in her.

We are coming home.  We are entering the New Jerusalem, and we cannot do it alone.  We are the Body of Christ.  The blessing of the Psalmist on his neighbors should be ours as we seek the Lord and His Promised Land.  “The Lord bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!”  We are called to care for one another, to encourage one another, and to help one another along the way.  St. Paul exhorted the Church at Thessalonica (1 Thess. 5:11) with these words: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.”  We are also instructed to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).  And Paul tells the Church at Philippi (2:4), “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Whatever God has given to us is to be used “for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7).  We do this so that we “may see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of our lives.”

“The Lord bless you from Zion!”  Yes, so that you may be a blessing to others.  In this seemingly endless time of change and turmoil in which we find ourselves today, we need each other more than ever.  We need the blessings from Zion.  But we need to share those blessings with friends, neighbors, bothers and sisters, and the strangers we meet on the street.  We have entered into the New Jerusalem.  Now let us look forward to the next challenge.  How shall we live here?  What would the Lord have us do in this place of blessing?

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