This week's Lectionary readings that struck me were Psalm 121 and Genesis 12:1-4. The psalm is part of the group referred to as "songs of ascent" -- the psalms that were sung or reflected upon while the Israelites journeyed up to the hill country where Jerusalem and the Temple were located. The psalm starts with the well known phrase, "I lift up my eyes to the mountains -- where does my help come from? My help comes from Yahweh the Maker of heaven and earth." There are two classic interpretations of this phrase.
One interpretation suggests that the person is looking toward Jerusalem and the Temple mount -- the dwelling place of God on earth, the One who watches over us on our journey. That's good, but limited by the notion that eventually the city and the temple are destroyed, which sends Israel into a century of exile and depression, wondering why God left them?
Another interpretation thinks in terms of the pagan worship locations still present in the mountains along the way that were perpetual locations of temptation for Israelites, to turn away from the one true god, Yahweh. This interpretation suggests that we don't pay attention to the temporal, human-made, objects or aspirations that distract us from our Creator, but refocus our attention on the One who is not "located" but is present wherever our journey takes us.
When I turn to the Genesis 12 passage, I note that it tells the story of Yahweh's call to Abraham -- "go from your country... and I will bless you, and... all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. So Abram went, as Yahweh had told him." It strikes me that the second interpretation of Psalm 121 is the one that Abram could sing. Don't trust in what you know and are comfortable with, or the distractions that seem "reasonable," but "Go and I will be with you." And it was Abram's obedient response that stands as the biblical turning point in God's personal engagement with the human project.
Way too many personal applications to even begin...