When I was a child I was also glad when my mom would say, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." I was a shy kid, not that smart, not athletic at all. One of those kids who mostly goes unnoticed. But that stuff didn't count for much at church. I was welcomed by a most gracious and kind pastor, who was my pastor from confirmation through ordination. I was welcomed by others as well: some family, for sure, but others, young and old, who were only connected to me because we belonged to the same congregation. I sat in the midst of people who cared about me. Never mind the sermon or the liturgy; it was all about the welcome, the love. I was safe in that place. The people in that particular house of the Lord our God sought my good.
Gracious God, thank you for this marvelous place and people called church. A people of welcome and kindness and laughter. A place of singing and joy and peace. A gift from our birth to our death, always seeking our good. Amen.
Psalm 122 (NRSV)
1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!"
2 Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem -- built as a city that is bound firmly together.
4 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.
5 For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers."
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, "Peace be within you."
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.