Beside the Well
My grandmother was my first Sunday school teacher. I remember her patience and love for that little group of toddlers meeting in the basement of the old country church. The first memory verse she taught me was Psalm 122:1, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
I have begun reading sermons by Rev. Samuel Martin in 1859 though warned I should not read old writers because they mess up my writing, resulting in the use of old phraseology and sounding very dry and technical. Sorry, but I find depth and encouragement in these writers, so please bear with me!
One particular sermon was on Psalm 122:1, and it was so good I wanted to start sharing some of it with you. I’ll try not to burden you down with lengthy quotes in old English, but I think you will enjoy his message as much as I!
To start his sermon on gladness, he addressed the phrase “let us go.”
Calling someone to go with you is a way of securing companionship and cooperation. It is an invitation we readily use today saying, “Let’s go shopping.” “Let’s go get something to eat.”
Here in Psalm 122, it is an invitation to worship. And there are other invitations using the same phrase. The Shepherds said one to another, after the announcement from the angels, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass.” In Mark 1:38 Jesus invites the disciples saying, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.”And in Mark 14:42 Jesus wakes the sleeping disciples with, “Rise up, let us go: lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.”
In Proverbs 1:11-12, we see an invitation from the wayward lads calling out for the son to join them in their rebel rousing. “Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: let us swallow them up.” As I meditated on this I began to notice the calls we hear today: calls to political persuasions, calls from activists, calls to come out for a pint, calls to accept alternate lifestyles and many others. The world is not shy about inviting others to join them. Hoards are following these calls; such is the manner of the broad way.
Reverend Martin used this phrase to challenge those listening saying, “But who…have gone to them and said, “Let us go—let us go together into the house of the Lord?” How few have taken the working man by the hand, and said, “Let us go together.” You can bring multitudes whom you never can send. Many who would never come alone would come most willingly under the shadow of your company. Then brethren, to your non-attending neighbours say, “Let us go:” to reluctant members of your own family say, “Let us go:” to those who once went to the house of God in your company, but who have backslidden from worship say, “Let us go:” to all whose ear, and mind, and heart, you can command for such a purpose say, “Let us go, let us go together into the house of the Lord.” (p 45)
What a great missionary challenge for all of us. Who have you invited to church this week? Who is just waiting for your invitation? You never can tell. And you will never know until you say, “Hey, let’s go to church this Sunday.”