Psalm 27: Fearless Trust
A rendering of the Ark of the Covenant
Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 17, 2016
The followers of Yahweh erected a tent to house the ark they created to hold their tangible remnants of their relationship with the Lord: stone tablets holding God’s ten pronouncements of the Mosaic Law, manna provided by the Lord during the Hebrews’ desert wanderings, and the staff that Aaron used to mystify Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt whom the enslaved people of God escaped. The Israelites replaced the tent with a glorious Temple to house the ark, sacred scrolls of God’s word to them. More than once this Temple was overrun, brought down, and reduced to rubble and a single, solemn wall of prayer. Today followers of Christ carry this tent, this Temple within; and it is in this sacred interior space that we find courage, hope, strength, faith, persistence, peace and joy. As we move through Eastertide, we bolster ourselves for the journey ahead as we continue our pilgrimage.
The New American Bible gives a wonderful title to these verses: A Psalm of Fearless Trust in God. We might benefit from the grace of this special prayer if we reflect carefully on its words as we pray them.
A depiction of the Moses Tent
When we are anxious or troubled, we recall . . .
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
I will fear no one.
The Lord protects me from all danger;
I will never be afraid.
When we are overwhelmed and distraught, we remind one another . . .
Even if a whole army surrounds me,
I will not be afraid;
even if enemies attack me,
I will still trust God.
When we are lost or abandoned, we remember . . .
I have asked the Lord for one thing;
one thing only do I want:
to live in the Lord’s house all my life,
to marvel there at his goodness,
and to ask for his guidance.
A model of the Jerusalem Temple
When all seems lost and dark, we remind one another . . .
In times of trouble God will shelter me;
God will keep me safe in the Lord’s Temple
and make me secure on a high rock.
When we are alone or bereft, we call out . . .
So I will triumph over my enemies around me.
With shouts of joy I will offer sacrifices in his Temple;
I will sing, I will praise the Lord.
Hear me, Lord, when I call to you!
Be merciful and answer me!
When we falter, we encourage one another . . .
When you said, “Come worship me,”
I answered, “I will come, Lord.”
The Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem today (The Wailing Wall)
When the world closes in and we find no exit from sorrow, we pray . . .
Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do,
and lead me along a safe path,
because I have many enemies.
Don’t abandon me to my enemies,
who attack me with lies and threats.
When we are rescued, we rejoice . . .
I know that I will live to see
the Lord‘s goodness in this present life.
Trust in the Lord.
Have faith, do not despair.
Trust in the Lord.
When this present life seems as though there is no evidence of God’s presence, let us remember Christ’s temple of light and peace that we carry within.
Psalm 27, one of my favorites, has been set to music by many. As we pray today we might listen to the Shane and Shane rendition at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndZsEDuCVAQ or a version by James Block: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJDF6z2EuPQ
If there is time in the next several hours, enter the word TEMPLE into the blog search bar and consider how God’s plan has brought us from enslavement through the desert to a solid place where we rejoice . . . and yet remains with us when great loss or great sorrow overtake us. It is God’s abiding love that brings us this fearless trust in the temple of God that remains within. When we reflect on these images or listen to these or other audios as we pray, we allow this fearless trust in God to rest in us today. Wishing all of you peace and joy on this day and all days.
Read Full Post »