Bible Study

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A New Song a Second Study in Psalms

A Bible Study by John Birch

Starting September 5th 2021

Introduction (Click to expand/collapse)

A second collection of studies on the Book of Psalms

This follows ‘Sing to God’ and looks at a further sixteen psalms under four general themes.

So, what is a psalm?

The simple answer is that a psalm is a sacred song or poem used in worship. The word itself has found its way to us through the Greek psalmos ‘song sung to a harp’ and Old English psealm. In Hebrew, the term used is Tenillim, meaning ‘Songs of Praise’. In the translation from Hebrew to English we have lost much of the complexity and styling in these poetic songs, but they have always held a special place in the heart of those reading or singing their carefully crafted words.

In Hebrew poetry, there is less emphasis on rhyming and more on the sense of words being used. Within the original language the writers often used parallelism as a building block, the first half of a phrase being emphasised or expanded on by the second. Think of Neil Armstrong’s words as he stepped onto the surface of the moon; ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ In Psalm 6 we read; ‘O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger, or discipline me in your wrath.’

Understanding the rhythm or metre of the original songs has sadly proved difficult. However, one aspect of technique is more discernible, that of acrostic verse, as found in the 176 verses of Psalm 119 where each section (and every verse in that section) begins with a new letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The Book of Psalms was both hymn and prayer book of Israel in the Old Testament, written somewhere between 900-500 BC. As we have it today, there are five sections, possibly imitating the five-fold division of the Torah, and each section closes with a doxology (a short hymn of praise). Book 1 (Psalms 1–41) Book 2 (Psalms 42–72) Book 3 (Psalms 73–89) Book 4 (Psalms 90–106) Book 5 (Psalms 107–150) Within the psalms we find themes such as lament, praise, thanksgiving, and gratitude, alongside others known as the wisdom psalms, and several written as liturgies (such as Psalm 24).

Who wrote them?

We associate the psalms with David, but there are other authors mentioned, such as the Sons of Korah and Asaph, who were part of the choir serving in the Temple. There are also references to ‘the director of music’. Several of the later psalms are anonymous. One problem is that the phrase ‘a psalm of David’ could mean one written by him, dedicated to him, about him, or written for his use. But with David being known as a musician and ‘Israel’s singer of songs’ (2 Samuel 23:1) it seems right to associate his name with so many of the psalms.

‘The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me;

his word was on my tongue.

The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me:

When one rules over people in righteousness,

when he rules in the fear of God,

he is like the light of morning at sunrise

 on a cloudless morning,

 like the brightness after rain

 that brings grass from the earth.”

(The last words of David from 2 Samuel 23:2-4) In these studies, we shall only look at a handful of the 150 psalms available to us, but the hope is that it will encourage you to explore the complete collection. Apologies if I have missed one of your favourites!

Studying and discussing the psalms

Let the words speak to you, leaving a few moments between reading and opening the discussion. You do not have to answer all the questions, so plan your study according to the time available.

Psalms come to us from the times of David, Moses, and from the experience of exile. What is common to so many is that their content comes packed with personal experience.

David was a musician, having learned to play whilst he was a shepherd, so using song to speak into his own daily joys and struggles would have been as natural to him as to musicians and folk singers over many centuries, who have sung about the times in which they lived. So, we find songs about the daily life of a shepherd (Psalm 23) together with David’s experiences as King, including fleeing from the army of his son Absalom and being admonished by Nathan for his sin with Bathsheba (Psalms 3 and 51).

David is honest about his feelings about others, even complaining about God. He curses those who oppose or attack him, asking for revenge, but is also humble enough to consider his own wrongdoing and ask God for forgiveness. It is this willingness to open his heart and tell God exactly how he feels that has appealed to subsequent generations of believers unsure of how to bring their prayers to God.

Read Psalm 3
‘Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.’ (vv. 2,3)

The subheading of this Psalm places it with David fleeing from his rebellious son Absalom, whose aim was to overthrow his father and assume the role of King. He was a devious man, ingratiating himself with the people until they felt him to be the only one who would provide the justice they desired.

We learn in 1 Samuel 15 that over a four-year period Absalom gradually ‘stole the hearts of the people of Israel’. It had been Absalom who had fled from his father just a couple of chapters previously in the story, after killing his brother Amnon. Now David fears for his life and, together with his officials, most of his household and a good-sized army, he tries to distance them from such a troublesome son.

They find their way to Jerusalem, only to discover soon afterwards that Absalom has entered the city.

Psalm 3 is a lament, with David pouring his heart out over the situation he finds himself in, as those against him claim his God will no longer take care of him. However, David compares those who have switched allegiance so quickly, with the God he knows from everyday experience, and knows he is right to have confidence in such divine protection.

When David became king, God promised a father-son relationship, and this knowledge is enough to sustain David as he finds his city of refuge under siege. Victory belongs to the Lord.

Some questions: –

1.The psalmist speaks of God as a shield around him. In our individual lives, what can this mean to us?

  1. History tells us that David had many failings, and perhaps we can empathise with someone like that. But what do verses 3-5 tell us about the relationship between David and God?
  2. This is a tragic situation, as David’s son is the instigator of his troubles. It is unlikely that any of us will face similar issues, but do you have examples in your own life of where faith has really helped you cope with a difficult, or even dangerous, situation?

 

Read Psalm 51:1-12
‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me’ (v. 10)

The subtitle of this psalm gives us its theme. ‘When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.’ The story, in 2 Samuel 12, also resulted in the deliberate death of Bathsheba’s husband. David repented and refused to eat, but despite his pleading and nights spent sleeping in sackcloth on the ground, the son that Bathsheba bore him died.

However, God had not abandoned David, and Bathsheba bore another son, Solomon, who would in time succeed his father as King.

Psalm 51 is inevitably a lament about the situation that David finds himself in, followed by an affirmation of faith in a God who will not let him go. The full psalm concludes in both a spirit of penitence and praise.

The preacher Charles Spurgeon called this psalm ‘The Sinner’s Guide’ as it provides a framework for the sinner to confront their wrongdoing and return to God’s grace.

The author has a good grasp of sin in its inward, outward, and Godward aspects (vv. 3-5) and the need for both an inner cleansing (v. 7) and spiritual renewal (v. 10). He acknowledges God’s right to judge his actions and, despite his wrongdoing, God’s unfailing mercy and love.

Some questions: –

  1. How difficult is it to come before God with a prayer of confession, and are there words in this psalm that you find helpful?
  2. What is your own view of the word ‘sin’ and are there (as in the law) minor and more serious transgressions, or should we consider them as James writes, ‘For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.’? (James 2:10)
  3. David sees the death of his first child with Bathsheba as God’s judgement (v. 8). There are a lot of such examples in the Old Testament. The teaching of the New Testament is that Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross paved the way for a new relationship, or covenant, with God. Where does that leave you when thinking about disasters, local or global?

 

Read Psalm 63
‘I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.’ (vv. 2,3)

Attributed to King David, this psalm’s theme is one of isolation, being apart from family in the desert of Judah we are told in its subtitle, fleeing from his enemies. The story to which it refers seems once again to be 2 Samuel 15-18 when David was fleeing from his son Absalom. He had a similar issue with King Saul earlier in 1 Samuel, but the last verse refers to David as king, rather than Saul.

It is again a lament, with the author opening his heart about his current situation ‘in a parched and desert land’ but concluding with a hope that God’s help will ultimately mean the destruction of his enemies, ‘given over to the sword’ and ‘food for jackals’.

Between these extremes, he recalls the glorious moments when, in his worship in the sanctuary and through the watches of the night, he recognised God’s presence as he offered his praises and how much this meant to him.

It is this memory which forms the body of the psalm, expressed through poetic imagery, and within it is the expectation that, just as God has been with him in the past, so now he will know the power of God through the destruction of those who seek his downfall.

Some questions: –

  1. Do you long for God as the psalmist did, seeking Him though the day, or is an hour on Sunday sufficient for your spiritual needs?
  2. Verse 6 perhaps sees David as unable to sleep and making use of the traditional three watches of the night for prayer. How do you cope with sleepless nights, occasional or frequent?
  3. Which verse of this psalm speaks into your own relationship with God?

 

Read Psalm 63
‘I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.’ (vv. 2,3)

Attributed to King David, this psalm’s theme is one of isolation, being apart from family in the desert of Judah we are told in its subtitle, fleeing from his enemies. The story to which it refers seems once again to be 2 Samuel 15-18 when David was fleeing from his son Absalom. He had a similar issue with King Saul earlier in 1 Samuel, but the last verse refers to David as king, rather than Saul.

It is again a lament, with the author opening his heart about his current situation ‘in a parched and desert land’ but concluding with a hope that God’s help will ultimately mean the destruction of his enemies, ‘given over to the sword’ and ‘food for jackals’.

Between these extremes, he recalls the glorious moments when, in his worship in the sanctuary and through the watches of the night, he recognised God’s presence as he offered his praises and how much this meant to him.

It is this memory which forms the body of the psalm, expressed through poetic imagery, and within it is the expectation that, just as God has been with him in the past, so now he will know the power of God through the destruction of those who seek his downfall.

Some questions: –

  1. Do you long for God as the psalmist did, seeking Him though the day, or is an hour on Sunday sufficient for your spiritual needs?
  2. Verse 6 perhaps sees David as unable to sleep and making use of the traditional three watches of the night for prayer. How do you cope with sleepless nights, occasional or frequent?
  3. Which verse of this psalm speaks into your own relationship with God?

 

Read Psalm 142
‘I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.’ (v. 1)

We are told by the compiler of the psalms that this was a prayer of David whilst hiding in a cave (Psalm 57 includes a similar historical note, whilst he was hiding from Saul) and has subsequently become a prayer for many in times of distress. Recited at Vespers since the Middle Ages, it may also have been the deathbed prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi.

The psalm follows the traditional pattern of a lament, as the author pours out his heart over the situation that he finds himself in, particularly the isolation he feels, and reflects on the help he has known in the past. He assures God that if rescued, he will offer his praise and spread the word about God’s goodness.

Verse 5 talks of ‘my portion’, and this recalls the historical portion of land each tribe received and from which it derived its sustenance.

The tribe of Levi, with their responsibility for overseeing and maintaining worship, received no land but the support of others and a closeness to God within the tabernacle or temple. All the author requires of God is to know that he is close, a safe refuge.

What does come across is that this is someone at the point of exhaustion who can still affirm his reliance on God. He paints a picture of a path that is walked alone and with snares hidden along the way set to trap him. He is hiding in a cave, but in verse 7 compares his situation to being in prison.

Some questions: –

1. Have you used the psalms as a prayer resource to turn to in times of trouble, or joy, when words do not come easy, and is meditating on the poetry or singing it via hymn, worship song or liturgy most helpful to you?

  1. How easy is it, when life is going along well, to put faith and prayer on the backburner, and what do we lose by doing so?
  2. Which words in this Psalm speak to you most about its author?

 

Something to think about: –

Sit down at the end of a stressful day and spend a few minutes expressing how you feel on paper. Now, see how those words might turn into a prayer.

In Judaism, Psalms 113-118, known as the Hallel psalms, are to be sung at the three traditional Pilgrimage Festivals mentioned in the Torah, namely Passover (celebrating the Exodus), the Feast of Weeks (celebrating the five books of the Torah given to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai 49 days after the Exodus), and the Feast of Booths, or Ingathering (celebrating the end of harvest time, and the dependence of the People of Israel on the will of God). We shall look at the first four of the Hallel Psalms.

 New Testament accounts of the Last Supper tell us that Jesus and his disciples sang a psalm or hymn after the meal before leaving for the Mount of Olives, and this might have been the Hallel as Mark tells us that ‘ On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, ‘Where do you want us to go, and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ (Mark 14:12)

 

 

Read Psalm 113
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.’ (v. 3)

We see the importance of the Hallel Psalms in the way composers have adapted them into choral works, particularly this one which forms the basis of compositions by Mozart, Monteverdi, Mendelssohn, Handel, and many others. It is both poem and hymn, divided into three sections (each with three verses) and a question at its centre, giving a lovely symmetry to the piece which may have been part of the temple liturgy. The themes within it appear to connect with both the song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-15) and that of Mary (Luke 1:46-55).

Although this psalm does not explicitly reference the Exodus, the author is clear that the Creator of the universe, exalted and enthroned on high, cares enough for his creation to stoop down and show love and compassion to the suffering and needy, even picking them up and placing them in positions of prominence, and therefore more than worthy of our praise. For this reason, it forms an excellent introduction to the small collection of Hallel Psalms.

Some questions: –

  1. Is there a single phrase in this psalm that stands out as you read it?
  2. Would you say that the words of this psalm transcend the centuries since and speak to the world today, and if so, in what ways?
  3. Verses 7,8 are almost identical to Hannah’s words in 1 Samuel 2:8 and reflected in Mary’s words in Luke 1:46-55. Is there a message here for our own generation?

 

Read Psalm 114
‘Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob. who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.’ (vv. 7,8)

This psalm is certainly more concise than many, composed of four verses (or stanzas) of two lines, and within them the author has attempted poetically to squeeze the whole salvation history of Israel, not allowing himself to be bogged down with detail or timing of the journeys out and into the land. The first two stanzas recall highlights of the exodus and the last two consider their enduring significance.

God reminds Moses in Exodus 19:3-6 that the people have seen how God brought them out of Egypt, and therefore if they are obedient and keep their part of the covenant God has made with them, their reward will be to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

This first stanza is all about a Covenant People. In the second and third, we find the exodus and entry into the land presented dramatically, with the elements as characters in the play and several unanswered questions.

The final stanza refers to questions already asked and declares God, the Lord and Master of the universe, to be none other than ‘the God of Jacob’. Throughout all of Israel’s history, God has been in control, accomplishing that which to human minds seems impossible.

Some questions: –

  1. This piece of poetry is so different in style from the last one. Is this a good thing for the reader, and where lies the challenge as we read it?
  2. So much history into a few verses. If asked to sum up half of your life in a couple of sentences, how easy a task would that be?
  3. At its heart, this is a poem about a covenant people and a covenant God. How do you understand this relationship between God and a nation?

 

Read Psalm 115
‘Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.’ (v. 1)

The third of the Hallel Psalms praises God for his great faithfulness towards Israel, which is powerful enough to silence those poking fun at them when disaster or enemy strikes and asking, ‘Now where is your God?’

These are people who choose to put their trust in gold and silver idols, precious in earthly value but totally powerless.

Compare that to the people of God, led in their worship by the priests. They do not rely on images made by hand; it is God alone who they trust. Three times the author exclaims ‘trust in the LORD!’ (vv. 9-11). God will remember them and protect all who ‘fear the LORD’, for this is the Creator God who has given this world to his people, to care for it and live from it.

This is the God who is worthy of praise, both now and for evermore.

Why, when there is no mention of Egypt or God rescuing his people from slavery, does this psalm form part of the Hallel collection?

Well, the psalm acknowledges that the God of Israel is a living God who responds to the prayers of his people, but whatever power the foreign nations around them claim to possess, they are truly non-existent. Hence the contrast between the God of Israel and those of their neighbours.

Some questions: –

  1. How would you answer the question ‘Where is your God?’ in times of trouble?
  2. Do you still see evidence of people putting their trust in objects and symbols, and what does that suggest to you?
  3. How does verse 16 connect with the bigger picture of our relationship with God?

 

Read Psalm 116
‘What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. (vv. 12,13)

There is no title given for this psalm, and no indication of the author, although it may have originated during the post-exilic period, with the author sharing his or her individual experience of the LORD’s salvation on behalf of the wider community of which they were a part.

The second half of the psalm appears to be a mirror of the first, but that may have been the poet’s aim, as it is less like a hymn than some in its construction. However, there are some familiar repeating themes with a need for deliverance (v 3); a plea for God’s help (v 4); the experience of deliverance (v 6) and a general thanksgiving (v 7).

Because of its more general theme of thanksgiving, and not dwelling on those things (and enemies) causing the author’s current troubles, we have a rather beautiful psalm that can speak to, and be used, both by individuals and congregations.

The preacher Charles Spurgeon looked beyond the mere words on a page and saw it as ‘A Psalm of Thanksgiving in the Person of Christ’. The city of Belfast has the Latin Vulgate translation of verse 12 as its motto, Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus or ‘what shall we give in return for so much’

Some questions: –

  1. Is the city of Belfast’s motto, based on verse 12, one that you could embrace, and how does it speak to you?
  2. Can you see this, as Charles Spurgeon did, as a psalm that speaks not just about its time but also reflects the image of Christ?
  3. These four psalms and the two which follow have a special place in the hearts of the Jewish people as they remember their history and relationship with God. What would you say were the major themes of that relationship based on your understanding of the Old Testament?

Something to ponder: –

Spend a few minutes trying to sum up how you see God having worked in and through your life.

Psalms 120-134 present us with a collection known as ‘Songs of Ascents’. It is not clear if these were written with a single purpose in mind or collated by a later editor. The meaning of the title is also uncertain, although one explanation is that these fifteen psalms may have been recited on the fifteen steps of the temple during religious festivals, most probably the feasts of Tabernacles, Passover, and the Feast of Weeks when people would travel long distances for a time of remembrance and celebration, as did Jesus and his parents when he was twelve years old (Luke 2:41,42).

From this idea of a physical and spiritual journey has come an alternative title of ‘Pilgrim Songs’. The author composed each psalm, in Hebrew, with the same poetic technique, repeating words and themes such as enemies, idols, personal life, Jerusalem, the temple, and the blessing of the LORD. Linking them seems to be a thread of trust and confidence in the God, in whom both blessing and shelter are found.

 

Read Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth (vv. 1,2)

If the reason for embarking on a pilgrimage is a spiritual search or longing, then verse one is a good place to begin, with its question reflecting uncertainty.

Although the mountains mentioned are not specific to an area, they provide us with a picture that can help in our understanding of the poet’s words. It is said by many that standing on a mountain or hilltop can seem like a ‘thin place’ where they can feel a closeness to God.

Many of the poet’s early readers would think of mountains as the dwelling place of many gods, but we are to understand that this is the LORD who has made ‘heaven and earth’ who is the guardian both of Israel the nation and the individual believer, whether they be on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, searching for a ‘thin place’ spiritually, or indeed on the greater pilgrimage of life.

 The key phrase is ‘watch over’, which occurs five times, and this is the blessing along the journey, perhaps a reflection of Psalm 23 and the Shepherd looking after his sheep. This is a psalm that exudes confidence, not that all life will be free from care, but that believers can trust the LORD in all circumstances, which must have been a reassuring message both in exile and during the post-exilic period of the people’s relationship with their LORD. Charles Spurgeon called it a soldier’s song and a traveller’s hymn.

Some questions: –

  1. Does the idea of pilgrimage appeal to you, and why?
  2. What might it be about mountains that cause many Christians to see them as ‘thin places’ where they feel a genuine closeness with God?
  3. How does this psalm, as a piece of poetry, speak to you?

 

Read Psalm 122
I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’ (v 1)

This is very much a song of praise for Jerusalem. Not for its streets, buildings, and people, but because the author sees it as ‘the house of the LORD’ and he frames the psalm with that phrase in its first and last verse.

 This is the only psalm of this group called ‘Songs of Ascents’ which has a central theme of pilgrimage, where ‘the tribes go up’ to offer praise and reflect on all that God has done for them through the Exodus and beyond, to his continual care in their daily lives.

Jerusalem is the central meeting place for believers and a judicial and political capital, being the seat of the Davidic monarchy (verse 5). The first half of the psalm draws the reader into the experience of the early pilgrims as they made their way into the city.

 The last four verses reflect on the fact that Jerusalem, the city whose name means ‘city of peace’, had not always known such peace, or provided security and prosperity to its people. But this was the psalmist’s deepest desire, that it might be a city of peace to all who love it, and for all to whom it meant so much.

Even when the monarchy and temple no longer existed post-exile, this psalm was still a rallying cry and an image which could unite a people and bring comfort and hope.

Some questions: –

  1. Where might you undertake a pilgrimage that is within easy reach of where you live?
  2. Consider the community within which your church is located. What might be your prayer for that place?
  3. The temple in Jerusalem was a magnificent structure. What can worship or prayer within a cathedral bring that a smaller, less ornate building might struggle to offer?

 

Read Psalm 127
Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.’ (v 1)

Here we have a well-balanced psalm in Hebrew, two stanzas with 57 syllables each, and two well-developed and related themes concerning work and home.

 The author reminds his readers, who may well be pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, that all the blessings and securities of life are gifts from God rather than the result of their own efforts. Even the provision of a good harvest and food to eat is not all about hours spent toiling in the fields, for it relies on God’s blessing of suitable weather to ripen the grain. Three times the words ‘in vain’ are used to emphasise this theme.

The arms of the city council of Edinburgh contain the Latin motto ‘Nisi Dominus Frustra’ (Without the Lord, [all is] in vain)

God and humankind are both involved in a covenant relationship, and for this to be a success, the author reminds readers of their responsibility, and to acknowledge the involvement of God in all areas of life.

 In the Old Testament the term ‘building a house’ can refer both to a building and the raising of a family, and we return to the theme of family in the second half of the psalm, with children an inheritance. Just as a quiver of arrows can protect a man when he is young, so a house full of children can be a protection against loneliness in old age.

With life expectancies much shorter than this current age, having a large family could be a guarantee of survival through the ravages of disease, war, and famine.

Some questions: –

  1. There’s plenty of picture language in the first two verses, but how do you read the thoughts contained within them in relationship to your own life?
  2. Is the motto of Edinburgh council still relevant in a modern secular society?
  3. So, how does the Christian answer a statement like this; ‘Everything you see around you is mine, earned through hard work, so why do I need God!’?

 

Read Psalm 133
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.’ (v 1)

During the annual pilgrimages, pilgrims came to Jerusalem from many regions, tribes, and walks of life, with a desire to conform to the requirements of historical direction given for the feasts and celebrate their common heritage.

There is something special about a pilgrimage walk, short or long, which is undertaken together with others, be they friends or strangers. There is a focus and unity of purpose which puts such things as worldly values and divisions into perspective, and this psalm, a wisdom text, begins by expressing that fact. There is something special, a blessing and joy, when God’s people (not just the nation) are united in faith and purpose.

The author uses two similes to describe such a blessing. The first is the fragrant oil used by the priests to anoint Aaron, representing the abundance of that blessing. The second is dew, representing refreshment and divine blessing. It is as if the refreshing dew which ensured green pastures around Mount Hermon in the north was falling on Zion in the hot and dry south. The author emphasises the divine blessing descending on his people with this north/south theme in the words ‘running down’ in verse two, and ‘falling on’ in verse three.

Saint Augustine considered the theme of brotherhood and unity in this psalm to be a catalyst for the birth of early monastic communities.

Some questions: –

  1. How important is it to remember the past, and are there particular landmark moments in your life that will always remain fond memories worth celebrating
  2. The psalmist says there is a blessing where God’s people live in unity. Is that your experience within your own worshipping congregation, or could the church do more?
  3. Is there room for pilgrimage within the normal weekly life of our churches, and what might that look like?

Something to ponder: –

Pray for all those who are currently undertaking a pilgrimage of any distance, for blessing along that journey.