Holy Pilgrims

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We are not alone. We are never abandoned. We become lost only when we close our eyes to this truth. When we finally realize this truth, though, it can become a source of real comfort to us; a comfort beyond the speaking of it. God is, was, and always will be. He is eternal and his love for his children is invincible. This is our faith.

We humans, because of the finite nature of our earthly existence, want to have and to see our desires fulfilled in our own time and in our own ways. Our problem is that, without faith, we lack vision. We can only see that which is in our presence. But just because we cannot see the mountain that is over the horizon, does not mean that it is not there. With the grace of faith, we Christians are able to believe in that which we have never seen with our own bodily eyes. We believe in God and in his everlasting love for us. And we believe in his call to us to live in such a way as to one day be able to enter into his Holy City and to live with him for ever and ever there.

This psalm is a poetic reflection on the splendor of God’s invincible city, Zion. It is sung by the Korahites, a guild of Temple singers. The place on earth that is called Zion is really only a hill, but it looms much larger than that in the believer’s imagination. For the believer, it is the place of the Holy and eternal City of God. Those pilgrims who approach it in faith see it with the eyes of faith and are stunned by its beauty, its awesomeness. Unlike those who are its enemies, who see it only as a threat, or as a place to war against and to conquer for the sake of earthly power and glory alone. They do not see its true Glory. They do not see that it is eternal, that it cannot be destroyed. They have no faith and, therefore, are blind to its beauty.

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Our Christian faith, though, opens our eyes to see the hope and the promise of this eternal and Holy City of God. For the believer, it is a light shining on top of a distant hill. It is the eternally bright beacon that guides us on our pilgrim path. In our faith, in our hope, and in our love of God and his Holy City, we endeavor to live lives of generous service, mercy, love, and compassion in this world, so that, on that day when we “shuffle off this mortal coil,” we may enter its precincts where we may joyfully meditate on His “unfailing love” for ever and ever.

Let us, then, sing joyfully to the Lord for his infinite goodness. He has fulfilled all that he has promised. And He has made an eternal dwelling place for us in His Holy City. May God continue to grace us with the strength and determination of holy pilgrims as we journey through this life. Let us see this truth with the wide open eyes of faith. We pray this, as always, believing in the power of the holy name of Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.