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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, May 13, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

Be thou my wisdom,
and thou my true Word;
I ever with thee,
and thou with me, Lord;
thou my soul’s shelter,
and thou my high tower;
raise thou me heavenward,
O Power of my power.

“Be Thou My Vision” (v. 2), translation by Mary E. Byrne
Hymn 450, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

In her book In A Different Voice, Carolyn Gilligan wrote that males and females are socialized to make decisions differently. Males, whose identity is formed through the lens of autonomy, tend to evaluate choices in relation to an external set of rules or standards. Females, whose identity is shaped through the experience of interdependent relationships, tend to make decisions based on the context of a given situation.

Both ways of making decisions are honored in this hymn verse. By staying in relationship with God, we can discern what wisdom entails. God’s true Word offers guideposts to follow the high road of faithfulness. God is the shelter of our soul, protecting our integrity, shielding our true self, guarding our authenticity. God is our high tower, like a lighthouse or watchtower, which warns us of potential harm. The image of God as protector comes through. I increasingly believe that the forces from whom we most need protection are the enemies within—those inward temptations and compulsions that can lead us off course from being true to who God created us to be.

Joyce Rupp writes about God as “Protector” in response to Psalm 12:7 (“You, O Lord, will protect us; you will guard us from this generation forever.”):

How much I need your defense
From my ego’s insistent entitlement,
And pride that feeds on others’ approval
Like free potato chips in a supermarket.
Sometimes I need you to guard me
From the mind’s ruthless criticism
Of my failed attempts at growth.
You are a vigilant, faithful protector.
You have my best interests at heart.
Will I accept it when you come to my aid?
(Joyce Rupp, “Protector,” Fragments of Your Ancient Name)

Lift me to your standards, Wise One. Abide with me, so that I use my power to foster life and love. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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