Today we continue taking a look at the Psalms of Ascent – those fifteen Psalms that follow immediately after Psalm 119. Last week we took up Psalm 121 and this week we turn to Psalm 126. Doing so, I’d like to begin a little differently this morning. I’d like to begin by sharing, somewhat a length, a modern version of the story of the Prodigal Son – a modern version as told by the American journalist and author Phillip Yancey. I trust it will become evident why we begin in this way. Here is Yancey’s version of the story of the prodigal. [The original version is on the Christianity Today website, here and there is more on Yancey here].
A young girl grows up on a cherry orchard just above Traverse City, Michigan. Her parents, a bit old-fashioned, tend to overreact to her nose ring, the music she listens to, and the length of her skirts. They ground her a few times, and she seethes inside. “I hate you!” she screams at her father when he knocks on the door of her room after an argument, and that night she acts on a plan she has mentally rehearsed scores of times. She runs away.
She has visited Detroit only once before, on a bus trip with her church youth group to watch the Tigers play. Because newspapers in Traverse City report in lurid detail the gangs, drugs, and violence in downtown Detroit, she concludes that is probably the last place her parents will look for her. California, maybe, or Florida, but not Detroit.