We began this ascent to Jerusalem with bright eyes, with hope, ready for anything. With a pack filled with Psalms to sing, a host of pilgrim stories to share, and a bag full of food, we stepped out on the road to the Temple. But it has been longer and harder than we thought. Will it ever end? We are exhausted with aching bodies and souls. But we haven’t given up. We have sung the songs of our God with our companions. We have persevered. Here we are, still putting one foot down, then the next: left, right, repeat.
Out of the night a voice explodes in our daze, “Behold!” “Come!” “Now!” “Attention!” Our heads snap up. Our ears open to more than our footfalls and shallow breathing. We are being called into the presence of our God. Yes! We look around at our companions, seeing a face here, a face there, brighten with a smile, perceiving the truth of the call. We have come to our journey’s end. We are roused. That's the Temple in front of us. We made it. We stand before God with delight, knowing the price we paid on the journey is minuscule compared to the joy bubbling from our souls.
So we join in the cry, "Bless the Lord!” We are moved body and soul, lifting our hands to echo our voices, “Bless the Lord!” It is the middle of the night. The journey has been hard, but there is no place we’d rather be than standing here, shouting our throats raw, praising our God.
Behold! We are in the presence of Jesus. We experience being the Body of Christ. We have come from different places, even different times, but today we are one. “Bless the Lord!” We made it!
But you know what? Regardless of the extravagance of our offering or the extent of effort made during the journey, we find God’s blessing is so much greater. May that be so as we gather in Rutland during the next two days. And then, as we return to the life God has given us, may these words resound in our mind, “May the Lord bless you!” Receiving God’s blessing, we are ready!
- David Doyle
First Baptist Church of Wolfeboro Falls and their interim pastor George Faul
Pemi Valley Church, Woodstock and their pastor John Muehlke
Our Annual Gathering and our speakers Jim Murphy, Stephanie Allen and Dale Edwards