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1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,[a]
2 will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
4 he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
or the arrow that flies by day,
6 or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
Shelter. Refuge. Under God’s wings, faithfulness, not fear, trust. These words describe someone struggling to make sense of a sense-less world! Perhaps in a time of pestilence and pandemic, like ours? Or a time of warfare and capture, when all is falling apart? Either way, it is a time to remember, re-center, refocus the gaze on God.
I love the image of sheltering under God’s wings, being covered by the feathers of our mothering-fathering God, who loves us with a deep and abiding love. This imagery of shelter and refuge fills the scriptures with deep reminders of the people’s fears and God’s care. Since recorded history, human fear rules our lives; fear that can overwhelm us. It is no wonder that scriptures are full of reminders of God’s “Hesed” –trustworthiness, steadfast love and faithfulness. We need reminding frequently who God is and where God is!
In these days of the COVID pandemic, we are getting tired, fatigued by all the restrictions, the need to stay safe when in public, trying to figure out who to listen to and what to do since every place has a different idea of what is necessary or not. Our longing for community, human touch, “normalcy” is strong in us the longer this sheltering goes on, and we feel frustrated and discouraged since no end seems in sight.
God invites you to turn to scripture, particularly the Psalms, where the image of shelter, refuge, rest, care, “HESED” are prevalent. Try Psalm 46, which Luther loved and used to write “A Mighty Fortress,” or Psalm 61, 71, 91 which are sources of hope, of placing ourselves in God’s care—shelter and refuge. When it feels completely overwhelming, and you think you’ll go mad with wanting “normal,” are restless, anxious, and need encouragement to persevere and endure, turn to God’s word, and allow that word to speak to your restless heart, soul, mind, and body. Breathe in the word of God, and imagine yourself settled, at peace, and resting under the wings of God. It is a place to be safe and sheltered, while we shelter in our homes, taking refuge from the pandemic that threatens.
You are welcome to call your pastor anytime 704-408-9534 Beginning Friday April 23, open office hour, 10-11 a.m. Pop in say hi, share a gratitude, let me know what to pray for, how you are doing. Stay as short or long as you need. The link to join:
In Christ’s love