Read Psalm 125.
As we descend into Psalm 125, the mountains of Jerusalem come into focus. Beyond the hills of ancient Palestine lies a scene that feels all too familiar. Wickedness has found a home in earthly rulers; enemies encroach those who do justice; and the anxieties of humanity run wild.
The scholar and author Kate Bowler has a saying which she uses to sign-off Instagram stories. “Have a terrible, beautiful day,” she says. Advent is like that, both terrible and beautiful. It’s a time when we cry out with the psalmist from both a liberated and not-yet-liberated standpoint.
Psalm 125 is itself a terrible, beautiful psalm. In the story of God’s redemption, the psalmist recognizes that we are nestled in the mountains of God’s love. The soil of promises is stuck between our toes. The presence of God is with us, and the presence of God surrounds us. While the universe churns around us and tyrants clamor for power, the firm and everlasting arms of the divine hold us fast. I want to extend an invitation this year. In the middle of this tumultuous, exhausting season, lean into the all-encompassing, surrounding presence of God. Enter into the foothills of God’s promises and tender Spirit, and keep going. Let this Advent be truly terrible in all the ways it needs to be, but let it be truly beautiful too.
O God, whose everlasting presence surrounds our every movement, guide our feet along this Advent pilgrimage. Breathe your Spirit into our sore and tender bodies. Stir in us a prayer of jubilee and petition, one prayer, united by your presence. Into your everlasting grace and enduring covenant we commit this day. Amen.
Alumni, UKirk Nashville
Student, Princeton Theological Seminary