Glad – when was the last time you were glad – really glad?
When I was a boy and upset about something trivial, my father would say to me, “Don’t get mad; you’ll only have to get glad again.”
What is glad? What does glad mean? Here are some suggestions from the thesaurus of my word processor: happy, pleased, cheerful, joyful, delighted, thankful, relieved, grateful, and appreciative.
Today we are going to think about being glad.
Several years ago, our family made a trip to the Rocky Mountains. My oldest daughter was out of the house and the other 3 children, made the journey “under duress.” We had fun along the way, visiting family in Texas, but the trip was a long one. Judy and I attempted to “hype-up” the trip by informing them of the beauty of the Rockies, especially Pike’s Peak. Our youngest daughter was unimpressed because she had “seen all there is to see on the Travel Channel – no big deal!”
We arrived at the foot of Pike’s Peak late in the evening when it was dark. The next morning, we piled into the car and began driving. Unexpectedly, we hear a loud cry from the back seat of the car, “Stop! Stop! I need my camera. No one told me it was that large!” Suddenly, she was glad she had come on the trip. At least for the moment.
Today we are going to think about a song written by a traveler who had just arrived at his destination and cries out, “And now, our feet have actually been standing within your gates!” So, the songwriter rejoiced or was glad because he had received an invitation to go to the house of the LORD!
Think about it. When was the last time you were that excited about going to church?
I felt like that most acutely last year. As you may know, I was hospitalized with a broken femur and subsequent pressure sore from September 2018 to October 2019, except for six weeks from Christmas 2018 to January 2019. That is a long time to be confined to bed rest, unable to go to worship. So, when I was able to go to the house of the Lord and worship, I was delighted, thankful, and appreciative. Special thanks to my wife Judy who works hard so that I can participate. And then, COVID-19 quarantine…
Our church is currently following the strict guidelines of our governor – limiting attendance by going to two services, practicing social distancing, wearing face masks, live streaming, and all the rest. I imagine that most of our members are eager to return to normal. But I think this is a good time to briefly review some of the benefits of corporate worship. We will use Psalm 122 as a guide.
“A Song of Ascents. Of David.
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. There, thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions’ sake, I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.” (Psalm 122)
Just to clarify, Jerusalem is also known as Zion or Mount Zion in the Old Testament. Zion was the place where God’s people went, at God’s command to worship together. Zion foreshadows God’s New Testament people, the church, and anticipates the heavenly Jerusalem.
Here are some characteristics of Zion and some New Testament parallels from 2 Peter 2 to ponder.
• Built as a city that is bound firmly together. Just as the curtains to the tabernacle were fit closely together, the ancient city is bound firmly together. So New Testament believers in Jesus” As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4–5)
• Tribes indicate the 12 tribes of Israel who were then referred to as – tribes of the Lord. These 12 tribes are distinct and individually unique. Their common characteristic is that they are of the Lord. Likewise, the church is comprised of diverse members who find unity in Christ.
• Go up to give thanks to the Lord. Just as the Old Testament community of God’s people offered Thanksgiving and praise to God, the New Testament people of God exist to praise and thank the Lord who called us out of darkness into light to declare his excellencies as spiritual sacrifices.
• Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Peace is not only the absence of war but also completeness and overall well-being. In the New Testament, we are both invited and commanded to pray. Our petitions are linked to giving thanks, as Paul instructs us: “… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6). We have the great privilege of petitioning or asking God for the needs of others and ourselves! As our song says, pray for our brothers and companions!
The weekend is upon us and our culture tells us that “weekends were made for having fun.” Believers in Jesus will recognize that this is at odds with what the Bible teaches. Every day, but especially Sunday, is an opportunity for us to be glad and to give thanks to the Lord and celebrate the greatness of his grace and mercy!
Decide today, if that you are able, you will commit yourself to be glad together with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Together you can give thanks and praise, pray, sing, and hear God’s word! Rejoice and be glad, even when you are hindered from worshiping together. Rejoice and be glad!