Psalm 124 is part of a group of psalms that are songs of ascent, or praise songs used by ancient Jewish worshipers traveling to Jerusalem for various feasts. The following could be our own “song of ascent” taken from our journey of this week’s readings:

Let us go up to Jerusalem together and give God credit for being so great! It is time to worship!

In the early days we were being worked cruelly by Pharaoh, and he wanted to kill our male children. Our God was working through the hands of two midwives to save us. Shiphrah and Puah—we will never forget those names!—mediated life to Israel. Their boldness made us want to believe.

And when the Nile was being filled with our children—Oh the horror of the thought!—that river was a graveyard for our future. God protected a certain baby from Pharaoh’s evil hand. That was Moses. He was preserved for the time that God would raise him up and prepare him to lead us. God raised up Moses to lead us!

God raised up a whole nation. We are a kingdom of priests whose presence in the world among nations has proved to be an eternal blessing to all people. God has done all this! Humanity will be restored. Let us go up to Jerusalem all together!

Pharaoh may have once dominated us in Egypt, but that was temporary. God called us out of Egypt. And at the same time, God called God's Son out of Egypt. Who is the Son of Israel? He is the Messiah. He is the Chosen One who will rule the nations with an iron scepter. Our Messiah leads the mission. He will lead a new humanity.

Let us go! God has done all this. Why would we not go up to Jerusalem and worship God?

God, who made heaven and earth, you are the One we worship. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 16:13-20

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Lectionary Week
August 17–23, 2020
Scripture Overview

Genesis now introduces a painful turn in the story of God’s people. The Israelites are forced into slavery; yet amid this dark time, a baby boy, Moses, is born. God has already begun the story of their deliverance. The psalmist recognizes that the Israelites would be overwhelmed and swept away without the help of the Maker of heaven and earth. Paul gives the Romans two specific instructions: First, they should be changed so that they follow God’s ways, not the world’s. Second, they must understand that they all need one another. Each child of God has a part to play in the overall body of Christ. In a famous passage in Matthew, Peter makes the basic Christian confession: Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Exodus 1:8–2:10. How can you serve in a priestly role?
Read Psalm 124. Reflect on the many ways God has blessed you and your community. Consider writing your own song of ascent.
Read Romans 12:1-8. What part of yourself are you holding back from God? How can you bring your whole self to your faith?
Read Matthew 16:13-20. Why do you think it is important to fully understand Christ’s identity before witnessing to Christ’s mission?

Respond by posting a prayer.