SONGS FOR THE ROAD                                                         Mark 10:32-45

And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, (v32)

Together we stand on the threshold of another new year. What do the next 366 days hold for us?

How can we prepare ourselves for the journey through the year? I know of no better way than by focusing on that section of the book of Psalms known as the Songs of Ascents. These songs, fifteen in number (Psalm 120-134) are thought by scholars to have been sung by Hebrew pilgrims as they made their way to Jerusalem to attend the three great festivals of worship –the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. We know from the Gospel of Luke that Jesus at the age of twelve went up to Jerusalem for the Passover (Luke 2:41-42), and a similar phrase is used in our reading today! “They were on their way up to Jerusalem.”

I wonder how many of you reading these lines on this first day of a new year will identify with the disciples and the people in this passage who were “astonished” and “afraid.” Are you feeling apprehensive as you set your feet on the road that leads into the New Year? Does the prospect of the unexpected and the unknown fill your heart with trepidation? Then I think I have an answer for you. Learn to sing with me the fifteen psalms of the Songs of Ascents and you will find your fears are quietened   and your feet become firm and steady. These songs for the road, as Eugene Peterson calls them, are a song book and a guidebook combined. They not only lift the flagging spirit but provide direction when the path is dark and unclear. Let’s learn to sing them well.

PRAYER LINE: Father, help me travel the new road not with a sign but with a song. Teach me to sing well, with an ear for the lyrics as well as the tune. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen (EDWJ)


Focus on the Lord as you start the journey through the year.

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