Thursday: Psalm 90, 91; Isaiah 49; Luke 11.29-end

From: Lydia Buchanan

"Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent." Psalm 91.4-10

What strange and wonderful imagery this passage contains. In the Lord’s protection, we are saved (twice!) from a deadly pestilence that stalks in the darkness. A dragon? Beowulf? We are covered in His feathers (picture that!). We are not to fear the terror of the night or the plague that destroys at midday. I feel, wonderfully, as though I have been dropped inside of a fantastic mediaeval tale, as if I am a hero (with feathers!) on a dangerous quest that’s destined to end in wild success. I declare in the face of my evil, evil enemy that no man can harm me; I am under the protection of God Almighty.

And yet, when I move past the imagery, this passage is challenging me. It is easy to be fearless in the face of enemies when no one is trying to murder me in battle. It is easy to not fear plague when I live in Boston, surrounded by hospitals. It is hard for me to say The Lord is my refuge and no harm will overtake me when I think of the great cloud of witnesses, so many women and men who have suffered great earthly harm while covered in the feathers of the Lord. It is deeply challenging to commit to believing No harm will overtake me when I am faced, particularly in this season of twinkling beauty, with so many things I love and could lose. Today I am trying to make my dwelling, my home, the place I store my safety, in the Most High.

I wish you a Happy Saint Nicholas Day. I hope you remembered to put your largest shoes out last night.