I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. God won’t let your foot slip. Your protector won’t fall asleep on the job. No! Israel’s protector never sleeps or rests! The Lord is your protector; the Lord is your shade right beside you. The sun won’t strike you during the day; neither will the moon at night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; God will protect your very life. The Lord will protect you on your journeys— whether going or coming— from now until forever from now.
Psalm 121 is often categorized as a Psalm of ascension. It is believed that this group of psalms were ones sung as worshippers ascended the road to Jerusalem for the three major religious festivals–Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Weeks–which was why they were gathered on the day of Pentecost) and Sukkot (Booths).
For modern day readers in a non-COVID time, this might be a Psalm for travelers…something to consider when you’re planning your next vacation or business trip or family adventure. But perhaps in this time, when travel is put on hold, rescheduled and put on hold again, Psalm 121 could be regarded as a Psalm of Safety.
In a world full of things that make us feel vulnerable and fearful, where do you feel safe right now? Where is the place you go where you know you are protected and that everything will be okay? Is it small and cozy? Is it strong and secure? Or is the place you feel most safe not available to you right now?
Now, imagine God as this place that makes you feel safe. We don’t often think of God as a location, but it is how the scriptures refer to God time and time again—a refuge, a rock, a fortress. God is our safe place.
In those times when you can’t get to your safe place or protected spaces, remember that your safe place is always with you. God goes with you and IS your safe place. This is not an argument that faith in God means you don’t need a vaccine or to wear a mask in public. God gives us great tools to participate in the protection of ourselves and others. It is a reminder that we can’t do it all and we never go it alone.
God, remind me that you are my safe place. That you are not only with me in my comings and goings, but also when I find myself stuck in scary and uncomfortable spaces as well. Amen.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.