As the last few days have passed I have taken much solace in the words of the Psalms, this ancient hymn book of deep joy and deep frustration has been a real source of comfort to me as I have prayed for our community, our nation and our world.
I prayed at lunctime today and the Psalm chosen was Psalm 61 with all of its assurances that we can take refuge in our God at times of calamity and chaos.
I am a very practical person and have taken along with many others very practical steps both in church life and personal life to adapt, to follow governement advice, to keep others and myself safe.
When I returned from prayers today the breifing from Downing Street was on, it was all about food, today it was all about supermarkets and stockpiling. NHS workers returning from 48 hour shifts to empty shelves is wrong, our supermarkests can cope with demand, but not over-demand. I was amazed to read that there is an estimated 3 billion pound increase in the amount of food stored in homes in the last fortnight.
Today as I reflect what it means to live under the shadow of God’s wings, to dwell in his tent and to be put in a safe place by him – it is to trust in him. It is to take those practical steps which mean that I keep others and myself safe from harm. It is not to over purchase or to hoard, our Supermarkets are good, and God is even better.
Living under the shadow of God’s wings needs an eye for ones neighbour before ones self. Our psalm finishes with these words “Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day.” What does that mean, perhaps “To love the Lord our God with all your heart and to love your neighbour as yourself”.
A 1907 hymn by Barney Warren takes this theme:
In the shadow of His wings, Doth my heart rejoice,
There in happiness it sings, Jesus is my choice;
I am sheltered from the storm, I am safe from every harm,
While I’m in the shadow of His wings.
The hymn also reminds us that we have our part to play
In the shadow of His wings How secure I feel;
He doth many hidden things To my soul reveal;
Since He cares for me, I know All my life to Him I owe,
I am in the shadow of His wings.
What does that mean, perhaps “To love the Lord our God with all your heart and to love your neighbour as yourself”.
Let us practice living under the shadow of Gods wings, loving God and our neighbour as ourselves, taking those practical steps to protect others and ourselves, at work, at home and in the community.
Yours in Christ