Greetings Narrow Gate,
Two months ago we were thinking that by now, we'd all be back in church. But the reality of now is this, none of us have any idea of when we'll be back in church. Two months ago I did not know a single person who had the Covid-19 virus. That is not the case now. I'm sure most of us know someone who has experienced this virus by now. In fact, the cases in North Carolina are rising. School is getting ready to start and everyone is edgy. Parents, students and teachers are all concerned about their health, naturally. Old fashioned news sources are not reliable for accuracy, so we are all left scrambling for information on the web, at twitter and Facebook. None of these are more reliable than any other sources. Some of us are unemployed, some are working at home, all of us are out of sorts, if we'll admit to that. Oh, and in three months we are having a presidential election. I am actually glad that I am taking blood pressure medication.
So, what I've decided to do over the next month or so, to finish out the summer, is to meander through some of my favorite scripture. Scripture that will help lower our blood pressures during all the weird stuff that's happening around us. I hope that this will meet with your approval.
When I have been in the throes of anxiety in my life, I have always found the Book of Psalms to be more than comforting. There even seems to be a Psalm for a specific concern that each one of us might have. Today I want us to look at Psalm 27, written by David. David had people conspiring to bring him down. He was under attack. Not unlike how we are all, in a way, under attack today. Evil people were after David. Evil is after each one of us today, and there are evil people conspiring right now, to take advantage of the situation that we find ourselves in today. Therefore, we should each be able to identify with David.
Please note how this brief Psalm opens with a statement of faith by David. This is important for you and me to hear. Just as we are reminded constantly of all the bad stuff happening, we need to be reminded that God is our source, and all of the good stuff that flows from God. These first six verses are David's statement of faith, Psalm 27:1-6,
"The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh (or to slander me), when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord."
David's confident faith is infectious, isn't it? Read it over and over, let it seep into your subconscious. This is what we need to read and hear, not the current flurry of bad news. Now listen to this prayer of David, let this be your prayer too! Psalm 27: 7-12,
"Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence."
At some of the lowest points of my life I breathed out this prayer of David's. I can tell you this, history is a witness that God was with David. God loved David. History is a witness, God was with me. God loves me too. He loves you also, he loves all of us. He will be with us in all of our struggles. Today with us, just like a couple thousand years ago he was with David.
David finishes this Psalm with encouraging advice and I respectfully submit that we heed his advice. Psalm 27: 13-14,
Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC