The lectionary passage this past Sunday was Psalm 27:1, 4-9. The first verse resonated with me. “The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
While I am familiar with the Psalm, when I heard it, it soaked into my being as verses sometimes do so I had to read it in it’s entirity. The Psalmist is in a terrible situation and God will make all the folks who threaten him/her stumble and fall. As I read I thought, “Wait a minute! I’m not being threatened by anyone. I don’t have to worry about being killed!” But at the risk of taking the Psalmist out-of- context, I AM at the risk of falling into my depression and I’m not going to do it. If I catch it early enough, I often can prevent it from taking over.
I will start by remembering this verse. God is my help and salvation. Martin Luther often slung an inkpot at the place in the room where he thought the devil was, yelling “I am baptized” and you can’t get me, devil! While remembering my baptism doesn’t have the effect on me that it had on Luther and others, it does help me immensely to think of being in the light. I often close my eyes and feel God’s light basking over me. One of my Facebook friends, Fred Wise, is an incredible artist and thinker.
A few weeks ago, he posted this picture of himself bathed in light and gave me permission to share it here. He wrote, “Brighten the corner where you are.” I’m trying to remember these words, for I’ve been hit again with the realization there is much I am unable to do. There’s a huge march in Raleigh on Feb. 8 and I would love to go. However, after considering all the options for getting there, I decided it is just too difficult for me to attend. Perhaps I am not called to go to Raleigh, but there are other things I can do here.
I love the story Mark Ramsey told in a sermon about Will Campbell and a priest in New Jersey. In the 60’s, the priest called Campbell and said he wanted to come down south and join his ministry because he felt called to do something important with his life. Campbell asked him where he was and the priest told him he was in a glass phone booth in Newark. Campbell asked him if the streets were deserted as he looked out the window and the man said, “No, there are lots of people out there.” Campbell then said, “Well son, that’s your ministry. Go to it.” My ministry may not be to go to Raleigh but I, like all of us, need to minister right where we are.
In worship yesterday the choir sang an arrangement of a Hebrew Folk song by Schlomo Carlebach written by Samuel Adler. The words are from Psalm 121. “I lift my eyes up to the mountains. From where does my help come? My help comes from the One who made the heavens and the earth.” It’s a catchy tune. The choir anthem was in Hebrew which was fun to sing but I liked singing the English transliteration for the song has more meaning for me then.
So today, I am remembering both of these popular Psalms. I particularly like the final verses of Psalm 27 which reads, “Wait for The Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for The Lord.” I do not know what my future holds and it is so easy to fall into depression. When I’m there, I can’t help thinking about the things I cannot do. As I sing, pray and try new things, I will wait for God to lead me