June 11, 2014| 0

Setting our Sights Higher (Psalm 121)

A Song of Ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

In the wake of the senseless violence that took a life and injured others on our campus last week, this psalm offers comfort and wisdom as a touchstone for the closeness of God, and it remains in our prayers.

This is one of the “Psalms of Ascent” (Psalms 120 through 134), traveling songs for the journey up (the ascent) to Jerusalem for the annual liturgical holidays. As people walked they shared their hope in God by singing and reciting these psalms. We read Psalm 121 in a communal prayer of shared hope at the beginning of our journey together here at SPU this past week.

Times like these remind us that our hope is in God alone, the God we know as Father through the Son who gave his life for us. He is the one source of hope that will not disappoint [Romans 5:5].

During the ordinary “in-between” times, we can easily become lost in our work. Deadlines, budgets and objectives are important, but they have no lasting significance in-and-of-themselves. They make sense only within the context of the greater reality that imbues all of life with meaning. The ultimate meaning of our work is found not merely in its financial value, but rather in the joy we bring to it [Ecclesiastes 2:24-25; 8:15].

So as we get back to business, and pay attention to the practical necessities of life, we do well to remember to lift our eyes daily to the higher source of hope. When we raise our sights to the maker of heaven and earth, life has meaning, work has a purpose, and the pressures of daily life become strangely subdued as they take a backseat to the higher source of hope in every circumstance. We celebrate this greater reality and the bond we share in the Psalms of Ascent.

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© Bruce D. Baker, 2014

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