Psalm 122:6-9 (ESV)
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.
“Peace be within your walls…” (verse 7).
St. Augustine saw the New Testament Church as the celestial Jerusalem, the City of God which, unlike man’s cities, endures forever. He observed that we are presently citizens of that city and at the same time pilgrims making it the final destination in our journey of faith.
In the sanctuary prayer, versicle and response reflect the joy of pilgrims occupying a place of refreshment and renewal along our journey all the way home.
David understood faith as being led by his Lord. That’s why he answered in the affirmative when bidden to enter under the Lord’s roof and take his place in assembly before Yahweh (verse 1).
Presently, you can always keep a less substantive Lent, a flaccid, halting preparation for the most holy day in the Christian year. One where over the course of the 40 days you give up ice cream—kind of. Or you can keep a holy Easter through being prepared, taking on reading the Passion narratives in the Gospels, practicing your fast and/or joining the parish expedition caught up with feeding some homeless folk in Katy.
Also consider as part of your Lenten discipline taking your place among your brethren every Sunday of the Lenten season. By your presence, strengthen the witness of those whom it has pleased God to give you as companions along the way home.
And what of the efficacy of our rites, poor only in comparison with those awaiting the blessed up yonder? The altar is the earthly seat of God’s glory, his rampart against sin and despair. Through our rites observed there, the mightiness and invincibility of His power to transform your life is imparted.
Come, receive under your roof the Savior who takes on the limitations of your flesh, and gives you back a life purified, one made ready for his service. Come, give thanks, and sing with David in an unalloyed joy in your presence before him. Come, and savor the peace and presence of God’s Christ within the four sanctified walls dedicated to his service.
Or you could just sleep in and accomplish—what, exactly?
As guests bidden to thy table, may thy holy mysteries, O Lord, profit us as we walk amid passing things, taught by them to love the things of heaven and hold fast to what endures. This we beg through Christ our Lord. Amen.