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Monday, September 16, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 91

You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
     who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
     my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
     and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
     and under his wings you will find refuge;
     his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
     or the arrow that flies by day,
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
     or the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
     ten thousand at your right hand,
     but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
     and see the punishment of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
     the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you,
     no scourge come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
     to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
     so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
     the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

Those who love me, I will deliver;
     I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
     I will be with them in trouble,
     I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
     and show them my salvation. (NRSV)


Reflection

“Wanna get away?” When one airline began employing that line in its TV ads—began posing that question as a response to embarrassing situations gone terribly awry—it was lifting up a very human inclination. When things get tough or overwhelming, when we don’t know where to turn or exactly how to go on, there is a temptation to run and hide, to cower and take cover, to disappear, forget, and, with some luck, maybe start over.

The psalmist knows there are times like that: times when, for reasons big or small, we would like to—when we need to—retreat, hide, slip quietly away to a safe, protected place.

Our God, says the psalmist in words of assurance and acclamation, is the one in whom we can find that refuge, the one who will protect us from the harms that assail us, who spreads wide God’s sheltering wings and draws us close.

That safe place in our God is not simply an escape, however; not merely a far-off destination. That refuge in God, says the psalmist, is a guiding presence along the way. It is the shade from the desert’s fierce sun, the smoothed pathway in the wilderness’s rocky expanse, the reassurance in the uncertainties of night, the strength in the trials of the day.

God’s protection and presence is for the journey, for the living of our days. It is for here, for now, and for always.

And it is a presence and protection God himself promises. In the final verses of Psalm 91, “the last word belongs to Yahweh,” writes Walter Brueggemann, “and the last word is caring protection. It is the ground for confidence that the last word is not spoken by us, but to us.”


Prayer

Lord God, keeper of my life, lover of my life, guide my goings out and comings in, secure in your saving grace, this day and forevermore. Amen.


Written by Ann Rehfeldt, Director of Communications


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