By: Chad Hyatt
Psalm 122
Reflection—v. 8 ‘For… my relatives and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”’

Wouldn’t it be great to feel good about our institutions again? Our psalm is a pilgrim psalm—the prayerful song of someone going up to the Temple for worship. You can sense the joy of the pilgrim coming into the city and the glow of the Temple, throngs crowding the streets, abuzz with anticipation for celebrations to come. The other day I drove down the street coming into town, passing the hollowed-out shell of a church where many of us on the street used to sleep. An advertisement boasted that this old sanctuary would soon be condos selling for a million dollars each. We could look to the halls of Congress or the steps of St. Peter’s, wander over to city hall or just sit in our own pews, but the sense of disappointment and disillusionment would be the same. Yet our institutions are us. Yes, they are more-than-us in ways that we don’t always account for. But it’s a poor sinner indeed who points a finger at someone else and doesn’t take responsibility for their part in what has gone wrong—and therefore the power each of us has to make things right again. We are called to pray for the peace of our institutions, and biblical peace is wholeness and well-being. It isn’t just the absence of tension, as Martin Luther King reminds us, but the presence of justice. It isn’t quietness and calm but righteousness and the balm that heals our brokenness, beginning with the most vulnerable who still suffer at our doorsteps.

Prayer: God of cities, we pray for wholeness and well-being in our lives together

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