Psalms 120-134 are each labeled “a song of ascents.” I learned, somewhere, that the “ascent” in question was the trip from anywhere to Jerusalem, which is up in the hill country, during the pilgrimage festivals (Tabernacles, Passover, and Pentecost). But according to Chabad, which probably knows more than the average white Christian seminarian, there are a lot more possibilities.
Nevertheless, I could probably do worse than to think of the songs of ascents on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a contemporary pilgrimage festival of sorts. Here’s one that seems particularly appropriate for the kind of pilgrimage vast numbers of people will be making this week:
Psalm 133 – a song of ascents
How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Holy One ordained his blessing,
Maybe I can use our travel time to think about some of the preconditions for kindred’s dwelling together in unity: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, kindness, and self-control. And speaking the truth in love. All which makes me think of another song …