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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Silas

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Psalm 121
Assurance of God’s Protection


I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the HOLY ONE,
who made heaven and earth.


God will not let your foot be moved;
God who keeps you will not slumber.
God who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.


The HOLY ONE is your keeper;
the HOLY ONE is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The HOLY ONE will keep you from all evil;
God will keep your life.
The HOLY ONE will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and for evermore.


There is a big difference between having and keeping. For instance, I have a favorite hooded sweatshirt—the Chicago Cubs one that you probably see me wearing all the time. This is my possession. However, unlike my sweatshirt, I keep my dog, Silas. He is not a mere possession; he is my pup, my companion, my beloved dog. He is dear to me: I watch over him, not just for my own sake and with my own interests in mind, but for his sake, too. I love Silas, and protect him from harm, because if he suffers, it hurts me too.

Likewise, God, the Creator, does not merely possess us. God, instead, keeps us. God engages with us. God woos us and dances with us through this gift we call life. We are God’s beloved, and immeasurably dear to God. We are not propertied possessions in the eyes of God, nor pawns in the game of life. We are, most importantly, not instruments in and through which God purposefully inflicts pain or suffering to “teach us a lesson” or to “make God’s plan known.”

In fact, quite the opposite is true. We are the children, the companions, of a God who understands suffering, who knows distinctly the experience of pain. Psalm 121 reminds us that God does not merely have or own us: God keeps us and relates to us as God’s own.

 Notice the repetitiousness forms of “keep?” As often as we feel ourselves “lose our grip” on God, it is nice to know that God does not lose God’s grip on us. We may find peace knowing that we need not base our identities, both individual and communal, on the assumption that we need to have a firm hold on all things, and get everything “right.” Rather, we need to remember that even after we were beautifully made, God proclaimed we are also good. Thus, we can release ourselves into rejuvenating rest because we know God’s watchful eye and creative hand never let us go.

Friends, while there may be pain—and yes, even death— in this journey, we do not go alone. There will be hardship, trouble, and there will be danger, but God is with us, will never forget us, and will always, yes always, love us on this journey we call life.
So, take a breath knowing that as you do, God is keeping you. There is much good waiting to be found along the way.


Something my pal Silas reminds me of every time we go for a walk.


[Adam Quinn, First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]

 

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