Saturday after Ash Wednesday
“From the end of the earth I call to you, when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Prayer as Pilgrimage
The poet is using imagery from the fortress-like hills of the Judean desert where David took refuge from Saul’s pursuit – an image now merged with the rocky hill upon which the temple sits. The ascent to the temple brings you to a place of security and protection.
The poet cries “from the end of the earth”, and perhaps the far distant shores are a metaphor of being far from God, but the word translated ‘earth’ is the word for the ‘land’ of Israel. It is more likely the poet stands as a pilgrim at the borders of the land, yearning for the heights of Jerusalem, and asking that God guide him into God’s presence there. Prayer is such a pilgrimage, coming from distant places into the presence of God.
Prayer is petition, laying before God the cares and concerns of our lives. It is thanksgiving, intercession and praise. But, at its core, prayer is pilgrimage and God our guide into that sacred space where the Spirit reigns.