Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Songs for the Road: The Psalms of Ascent and Life's Journey...An Introduction And Invitation

When we go for long drives in the car as a family we take turns choosing the music we have playing. We change the CD in the car if we were more modern we’d rotate the play lists on all our Ipod’s or MP3 players. In fact we have to set the volume of the car stereo at a certain level because people are listening to their own music as we drive.   I have music that I love to listen to when I’m driving, and it changes whether I’m awake or tired, cursing or stuck in traffic.

Over the next five week at St Peter's Presbyterian Church Ellerslie/Mt Wellington we are going to look at 5 songs from the Pilgrims playlist in the book of psalms, the psalms of ascent. Fifteen short psalms that are grouped together... Psalms 120-134 all with the title Psalms of ascent. I’m calling the series Songs for the Road: The Psalms of ascent for life’s journey.

They all have their own historical context, which for many are lost to us, but have been gathered together in this collection. We don’t know who wrote all of them some are psalms of David.

Historically they may have been grouped as the soundtrack to the Jews return from exile, a reflection of their travelling from Babylon back to Jerusalem... the word ascent is 'Aliyah' which modern Jews use for the immigration from round the world where they have lived for almost two millennia as sojourners back to Israel… They have been used in temple worship, in the Talmud they were said to have been sung on each step as pilgrims climbed the fifteen steps to the inner court of the temple. They definitely have been associated with pilgrimage, coming to Jerusalem for the three big festivals each year.  They are songs from the road, and as such they are helpful for us as they are a lens through which we can look at our own pilgrimage, our own faith journey, in the past and onwards and upwards.

If your in Auckland why not come and join us for worship and these songs for the road. The church is on Harrison Road off the Ellerslie Panmure Highway (where the St John's ambulance regional station is) close to the Southern Motorway  just off the Penrose/Mt Wellington off ramp. If your somewhere else round the world... I'll be posting these messages over the next five weeks and am always happy to interact with people.

It would be interesting to see what peoples favourite travelling music is... mine is U2, Fat Freddy's Drop and Phil Keaggy. Some leave a comment and tell me.

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