One Foot In – So Close but Not Yet

Are you ready? Is the excitement building? This should not be a normal time.

It was that trip almost every parent takes – the college road trip to visit campuses. So in the fall several years ago, we loaded the car and headed to Texas. We took our son to the University of Texas (Austin) and totally enjoyed the road trip, but not enough to make UT at the top of his list. Maybe it was because we were locked out to visit the football stadium. Oh well.

We spent some time at Baylor University, and with RG-III in the headlines, and the campus so green and beautiful – it too was a delight and grabbed his attention. He applied but they dragged their feet and seemed apathetic. He did finally get that coveted acceptance letter (signed by Ken Starr too) but just too late.

And then we visited my Alma Mater, Dallas Baptist University. My son wasn’t too thrilled due to my connection (don’t want to go where dad went). But they were so passionate, so persistent, so personal that they won his heart. And I am glad for his time and education there.

Dallas Baptist University – home of the Patriots – many of their buildings are designed after famous structures in America.

Then, and every time I walk on campus – it is like a breath of fresh air filled with the comfort of home. I feel joy and pride.

But on that road trip, we also went to AT&T stadium – where one of my least favorite football team plays, the Dallas Cowboys. I have attended several games there. I love the architectural excellence, the majesty of the edifice, and all that went into it – but when it came to stepping on the field, I just couldn’t do it.

I just couldn’t step on to the field at AT&T Stadium – nope, couldn’t do it

So now, let’s transition to the third of the Ascent Psalms, Psalm 122. This is a powerful view into the pilgrims joyful expectation to enter into the Temple, into the place where God is worshipped and the very representation of His presence.

This Psalm lifts prayers for the peace of the city, and cries out for its wellbeing. Two little snippets jumped out to me.

First – It is referred to as a city “firmly bound together.” The phrase, appearing only here in the Hebrew, is related to friends that are bound together, standing united. Could this be a prelude to the divided city we have today? Or could it be connecting the eternal city in heaven with the earthly city in Israel? Or maybe referring to a united people there to worship during the festivals calling for pilgrimage to the holy city.

Second – and one that connects to the stories above – is the psalmist saying …

Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!

You can sense the joy in the words, a wonderful expression of admiration for the city. It may be awe. It may be a comfort of home, like a warm quilt that snuggles you at night. It may be an exhilaration that you are one step closer to the Temple, closer to the very presence of our Lord. The trip had been long, and now the psalms point to arrival in the city. The crowds are active, the smells and sounds are numerous, and the festivities have brought tens, even hundreds, of thousands to this one place.

In a few weeks, we will be relaxing the restrictions to worship due to the coronavirus. There is an excitement to just stepping back into a place of worship, back into the community of believers. Like the psalmist, we need to be reminded … I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.

Are you ready? Is the excitement building? This should not be a normal time. God who is bringing us through this time, is the God who deserves our praise. And in the end, don’t let excitement of being close replace the real reason we gather – to worship the living God.

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.





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