Tomorrow’s sermon is a transitional one: a bridge between two series.
For the last five weeks we’ve been bouncing around in the New Testament using the lens of “It’s Still Easter” as our guide to try and uncover the ways in which the resurrection of Jesus is meant to be directive and relevant to our everyday lives rather than merely a special event on the church calendar.
Tomorrow, we'll still be teasing out that idea but also leaning into our summer series on the Psalms of Ascent. These were songs that Israelites would sing at least three times a year on their pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem for special celebrations. The journey was often "up" from a geographic or spatial sense, but always "up" in a metaphorical one.
Christianity hasn’t typically prioritized these kinds pilgrimages (unless you count the commute to church every Sunday morning) and perhaps we’re poorer because of it. Imagine how vivid the cost of discipleship would seem to us if three times a year we had to make a days-long journey to an out of town worship service. And, we had to make these pilgrimages with our extended family, along with a bunch of strangers, who were traveling for the same reason.
Oh, one more thing: no radio, no books on tape, no screens whatsoever!
Maybe, after a few hours you might start up a song and invite others to sing along in order to pass the time. Okay, probably not, but stay with me here, because that IS in fact what ancient Jewish pilgrims did. But, they didn’t sing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”; they sang songs of prayer that oriented them toward Jerusalem and toward the God who “waited” on them there.
We know this because we have 15 Psalms in our Bible that are considered “Songs of Ascent” which were sung in a sort of traveling worship service.
Tomorrow we’re looking at Psalm 95, which isn’t part of this grouping, but I think will help to set the stage for the Psalms/Songs of Ascent by discussing the nature of worship itself. Then, next Sunday we’ll have a one-week intermission for Pentecost Sunday, and then on June 16th we’ll start our summer series: "Uphill Songs" with Psalm 120.
So, feel free to read Psalm 95 for tomorrow and maybe make the 15 Psalms of Ascent your companion for the summer. Below you’ll find ways that you can serve and be involved at Intown in the coming weeks.