No Longer Foreigners
Holy, unchangeable God, to You be all the glory and praise. How great You are.
Read Psalm 87:1-7
Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm. A song.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The church as she is destined to be…a garden of life nourished by springs of salvation (7)” (John H. Eaton). We thank God that this is what the church can be.
In an age of rapid communication and transport, many people in our day move swiftly around the world, settling far from the places where they grew up. Some go as refugees, others to study, marry or seek work. There are those who move to farm new land, and many travel to retire. Yet whatever the reason for moving, the issue of citizenship, of belonging, may very quickly arise. What right have I to stay here? Where am I really at home? Who are my people?
Today’s psalm is about belonging. “Zion” is the key word (2,4,5,6). This is the ancient name of the hill on which Jerusalem stood, where her Temple was built and where her people journeyed on pilgrimage. Zion was the hub of Old Testament faith, where the Hebrew people felt they belonged most truly and intimately. This was the city of God (3). Zion is sometimes pictured as a mother, who nourishes and cherishes her children (Isa. 66:10-13). Yet now the psalm says that people from around the world belong there too.
The psalm takes a long view, across the earth and into the future. It sees the potential of Israel’s faith to reach the Gentiles, to bless the families of the earth, to beckon and gather the nations. It looks ahead, in a way, to Jesus, to Pentecost, to the worldwide spread of the Gospel of Israel’s Christ. So it speaks of a belonging that is no longer narrow, not limited by genes, but granted by a generous grace. And as church we inherit this vision. We practice a belonging that is deliberately multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. We are citizens together of a heavenly Kingdom. We say, with the apostle Paul and with Christians from every nation on earth, “The Jerusalem … is our mother” (Gal. 4:26).
How inclusive or exclusive do you think God’s Kingdom is? Who will be left out?
Lord, I can understand how some Israelites felt uncomfortable when they realized who could be included in Your Kingdom. I sometimes need special grace to embrace those different from me.