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We are almost halfway through a series of studies on a collection of 15 psalms, grouped together in order in our Bibles, it seems, for the specific purpose of being sung on a pilgrimage. Psalms 120-134. These 15 psalms are all labeled "Psalm[s] of Ascents." Psalms for an upward journey.
We're almost halfway through the series. We're looking at these psalms one chapter at a time, so even if you've missed the whole series up till now, you don't need to worry about catching up, because each one of these songs stands on its own. Each one has its own theme and tonality and topic.
Most of them are upbeatâ€”and that is to be expected. They serve the same function as the songs you might sing on a church bus on the way to summer campâ€”only these are more meaningful, more theologically rich, and a lot less repetitive than "Father Abraham had many sons" or "Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burnin'." These songs helped to pass the time on the road while they united the voices of groups of pilgrims in praise and thanksgiving to God. These would have been some of the best known and best loved psalms in the Hebrew psalter, because you would sing them from childhood during one of the happiest ties of lifeâ€”on a trip to Jerusalem for a celebration...