?God?s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you ? Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.? (Psalm 121:5-6, The Message)
Psalm 121 is among what are called the ?Songs of Ascent? or ?Pilgrim Songs.? Annually Jews would make their way to Jerusalem and to the Temple. Songs were sung along the way to prepare for worship in the Temple. The same roads were traveled. The same scenery observed. However, this trip was different ? worship with the people of God in the place where God meets his people was the goal. An ordinary place was made extraordinary because of what would happen in that ordinary place.
We have an ordinary place for the people of God to gather ? the church to gather. It is made extra-ordinary based on what will occur in that space. How do you prepare throughout the week for worship with the people of God. I am still stewing over the phrase I read Sunday, ?as in “quiet time,” prepares me for the church community. Not only should we pray for ourselves, but we should pray that God will help us so that we can be better members of the church.?
Our journey or pilgrimage through life can create a variety of stresses ? the length of the journey, the mode of transportation, fatigue, anxiety. Eugene Peterson inserts the understanding of these pressures in his interpretive translation of Psalm 121 (above). God guards us from ?moonstroke.? Peterson writes, ?And a person traveling for a long distance on foot, under the pressures of fatigue and anxiety can become emotionally ill, which was described by ancient writers as moonstroke. The NIV simply states that God shields us from sun and moon. Certainly travelers in that day understood the stresses of the journey.
I am glad God is our Guardian ? shielding us from the obvious (sunstroke) and the subtle (moonstroke). As we gather together, let?s prepare for worship by spending time preparing ourselves for what it means to be in ?community? with the people of God.