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Entering into God’s presence with the community of God’s people helps us feast off others enthusiasm and soak in the joy around us.

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I was glad when they said to me,
“let us go to the house of the Lord!”

We’re spoiled in America. We have innumerable opportunities to enter places of worship. Distance is no big obstacle either when we can simply climb into our cars and drive ourselves to church. Then, when we arrive, it’s not all that different than the rest of life – the music is similar to what we overheard in the local grocery store and the sermon is similar to the radio broadcast we listened to on the way. But, for some of the first Israelites to sing Psalm 122, the journey would’ve been long and extremely uncomfortable.

Taking this journey meant leaving the mundane and troubles of everyday life in the countryside and beginning an adventure toward the city swarming with people and festivity. Perhaps this extreme contrast made for such a glad response to the invitation, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” By going to the city, they could feast off the enthusiasm to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Sometimes the process of going to church is full of joy and gladness. We can’t wait to get there – like the Israelites in this psalm. However, because it’s fairly convenient and somewhat familiar for us to step into a place of worship, we can easily take the house of the Lord for granted and going to worship can quickly lose its wonder as well as its joy. Perhaps this describes you today. Instead of feeling gladness about entering the Lord’s presence, you sense some guilt or shame or boredom. Be encouraged. Gladness is not a prerequisite. But, there will be gladness in the going. The process of entering into God’s presence with the community of God’s people helps us feast off others enthusiasm and soak in the joy around us. Can you think of a time when you entered church reluctantly and came out filled with gladness? Next time you feel reluctant to enter the house of the Lord, remind your heart of this joy. One suggestion would be to listen to a song like Ascension by Phil Wickham.

 

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord.
– Psalm 92:1-4

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By Yvonne Biel 

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