I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Ps. 122:1)

FOOD IS EVERYWHERE. Five-layer cakes, chocolates, pies of every description, bold coffees, and a vegetable tray for those who eat more healthy foods.

It’s an invitation I eagerly await. I’m not the only one who anticipates this summons to our friends’ annual dessert party. More than food, this is a gathering of friends for an evening of fellowship, enriching relationships, and sharing time together.

We hear the same excitement from the psalmist, a Jewish pilgrim who had traveled to Jerusalem for a festival. He was glad to go to the house of the Lord. He was excited that someone had invited him to go along. He knew there were others with a similar love of the Lord. He could not wait to get inside the gated entrance.

The reading also speaks to you and me as we gather in praise and worship to the God who created us. It is in worship that vows are finalized, resolutions of the past are confirmed, a promise is made, a course begun, an evil is erased from our lives.

But the great thing about the celebration of public worship—the great mystery—is the fact of Christ crucified for our sin. It is proclaimed through architecture, the Lord’s Supper, by hymn, sermon, and prayer.

What a gift, and what a cause for celebration!

As you prepare for worship this morning, consider what excites you about this gathering.

Drexel Rankin is a retired ordained minister who served full-time pastorates in Indiana, Alabama, and Kentucky. He and wife, Patty, live in Louisville, Kentucky