The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

11/26/2008

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The Pilgrim's Joy


"I rejoiced with those that said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.' Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem" (Ps. 122:1&2).

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Because of things we have learned in the past, we may have an image of the first "Thanksgiving" in this country. You know the picture...Those prim and proper "Pilgrims" in their fancy black and white clothing.. The ones with the big buckle hats they always have on in the pictures. They are seated at an outdoor table with Their Native American friends with a veritable treasure-house of foods and that cornucopia of fresh fruit. It is an inaccurate, but pleasant picture.

Just what is a pilgrim? One dictionary definition says; "One who embarks on a quest for something conceived as sacred. For this group of people it is a good definition. These early settlers had made a long journey toward religious freedom in a new world...it was a "sacred quest." A quest to find a new "sacred' place.

In David's day another definition would be in order. "a person who journeys a long distance to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion." The setting of this Psalm shows some pilgrims. These pilgrims are not seeking to find new sacred place. They were going to the temple of God in Jerusalem, a place that was already considered to be sacred. These Jews would have tried at least once in their lifetimes, to see the temple at Jerusalem and worship there. And you thought you had trouble getting to church on Sunday mornings!

The people were excited to be going to worship. As the Psalm opens they are probably tired and dirty from their journey, but overjoyed at being able to worship God in His Temple. Historians tell us that the roads began filling with worshippers who were converging on Jerusalem around certain feast days. "I rejoiced with those who said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'"

Does excitement at the prospect of worship have a place in Christianity today? If it does, how do we show our happiness to be able to worship? Do you think that these pilgrims ever thought that their worship was a chore or duty? Do we ever feel that way? Can we take something from this story? The reasons for the trip and their worship were two-fold. First to tell the story of God's work among His people, and second, to give thanks to the Lord. These were the two pillars of worship then and they are unchanged today.

We should worship together each Sunday and share how God has worked, and is working in our lives. We should in all ways give thanks to our Lord for having that part in our lives. We are indeed the pilgrims....We get to make a pilgrimage each Lord's Day...WE ARE THE PILGRIMS.....Do we have the joy?

A Happy Thanksgiving to all of you...Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart.....Love mark Phil. 4:11

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