Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Help

How can I write about something else when all this is going on -- the murder of George Floyd, the riots and destruction, the virus, the quarantine, the angry, hurtful words, the chaos, the fear?


I turn to my favorite Psalm, Psalm 46.


God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.


There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.


The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.


Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.


He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”


The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.


When I hear the words, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God” my shoulders drop, I breathe more deeply. I feel a stream is flowing through my heart. Today I had a new thought about that river. I read people saying there cannot be peace without justice and it reminded me of the verse, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24, famously quoted by Martin Luther King.) That river whose streams make glad the city of God contains justice.


In a passage by Anne Lamott imagining a discussion with her Sunday School class, she writes:


I hate this. It would be so much skin off God’s nose to give us a map?
Well, I would tell my kids, God actually does, and I would have one of the big kids read Psalm 61 from the Hebrew Bible: “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”


And in Psalm 121:


I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.


In Psalm 146:


The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.


I lift up my eyes to the mountains, to the rock that is higher than I, to the fortress, and find my help. I see the river whose streams make God glad, filled with justice, peace, and love. I pray I may be a drop of water in that river. I pray that you, too, find the peace and love of God flowing into your heart. He loves you.

No comments:

Post a Comment