I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together.
To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.”
For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.
I saw this sign on a hike in Kep, Cambodia in 2011. Honestly, I immediately thought of the Led Zeppelin song at the time. But now, nearly 3 years later, it has a far different meaning. I was wondering about how I could possibly represent “let us go up to the house of the Lord” in a way that wasn’t just a picture of a church and I thought of this picture. What this picture does not show is that it pointed to a set of rough stone stairs (pictured below) that led to a wonderful (and very interesting) hiking trail. But the statement “stairway to heaven” is so appropriate because we come to the house of the Lord to have a taste of heaven…to have an experience of the divine…to connect with God, and with one another, so that we can be sent out into the world to serve. When I am a part of planning and leading a worship service (along with praying for it throughout), my deepest desire is that people have an experience of God in a tangible and life-changing way in that time. However that happens is not up to me, but to the moving of God’s Spirit, but that is what I hope and desire.
This Psalm is one of a group of Psalms known as the Psalms of Ascent…thought to have been sung as people ascended the road to Jerusalem. As they ascended, they were hoping for an experience of heaven. May you, as people gather for worship tomorrow morning have that experience…a stairway to heaven.