Psalm 126 is set in the Lectionary for this Third Sunday in Advent, a day when the themes of joy and rejoicing run through the prayers and scripture readings. Psalm 126 is itself a song of joy, and is one of the psalms referred to collectively as the Song of Ascents. It is thought by many scholars that these songs were sung by worshippers as they ascended the road to Jerusalem for three annual Jewish festivals. I experienced what an ascent that truly is when I visited Jerusalem in 2015.
Nan Merrill’s re-visioning of the Hebrew Scripture’s Psalms in “Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness” has a lovely fresh version of this psalm. It speaks of Divine Love, a love that is in"nite, unconditional, nonjudgmental, intimate, and felt at the depth of one’s being. The initial verses convey the sense of this love and its impact: “When the Divine Lover enters the human heart, all yearnings are fulfilled! Then will our mouths ring forth with laughter, and our tongues with shouts of joy”
This Divine Love brings joy to the human heart, a joy to be felt not only at this time in Advent, but throughout the year. This love never leaves us. It is an integral part of us. God is in each of us; we are in God. As the beloved, we are God’s presence in the world. God invites us to be instruments of joy in this world. And from this union with the Divine, everything belongs.
– Sandi Austin