Psalm 87: Mother Zion – “Why Can’t You Just Get Along?”

“He’s looking at me! Tell him to stop!”

“She’s touching me. Ooo, cooteys!”

Sound familiar? If not then you are not a parent to two or more kids. Siblings fight. It’s part of the reality of having kids. We love our brothers and sisters, but they also drive us crazy when we are little and stuck within the confines of a limited space, ie. home.

For some, sibling rivalries and disagreements continue throughout their adult life. We may function as mature adults at our place of work, but put us in a room with our siblings and we are six years old again! Others find these relationships grow stronger as they grow older. No one else knows what it was like to grow up in our homes like our siblings do. We share years of memories.

We may fight with siblings and call them names, but if anyone else does, we attack, because, he or she may be a jerk, but they are still family. No one is allowed to hurt family.

Is it any wonder that we humans find it so hard to get along?

Our psalm for this week is an idealized vision of the City of God, where we are all brothers and sisters under Mother Zion.

Psalm 87 is a Song of Zion. Zion, Jerusalem, is wonderful indeed, sitting on God’s holy mountain for all to see. “On the holy mountain stand the city he founded; the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O City of God.” (1-3) God loves this city.

Many are born here, “And of Zion it shall be said, ‘This one and that one were born in her’; for the Most High himself will establish her.” (5) Some translate the beginning of this verse as “And Zion I call mother.” Even the people of other nations may be considered her children, “Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia—‘This one was born there,’ they say.” (4)

God, as he records people in his holy registry, also writes, “This one was born there.” (6b) All people recognize her as the source of life, “All my springs are in you.” (7b) We are all one family under Mother Zion.

Jerusalem, the City of God, is holy to three of the major religions in our world, Christian, Jew, and Muslim. Yet, rather than being a unifying force, it is the bed of religious infighting and hatred. We are far from seeing ourselves as one family under one God. I can almost hear Mother Zion saying, “Why can’t you just get along?”

There is another picture of Jerusalem, the new Jerusalem in heaven where all fighting will cease and we truly will live in harmony as members of the human family. Until that time we have a long way to go.

What was family life like for you growing up? Did you have siblings? Are you friends now? Why is it so hard for us to get along?

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