High River United Church of High River, Alberta

A Message to Connect - May 4

Grace & Peace to you! 

And to all Star Wars fans: May the 4th be with you!


Chairs New Brunswick

Photo by Susan Lukey


Susan’s Reflections on Psalm 4

Have you been “eating” a psalm a day? That is, reading it, pondering it, wondering about it. The psalms express the writer’s deepest feelings and their perspectives about God. So what have we seen so far?


Psalm 1 exudes confidence. “Happy are those who delight in the law of the Lord.” Remember that within Judaism, the tradition out of which these psalms comes, “law” is Torah, and Torah means life! So happy are those who delight in life with God! The prosperity spoken of in verse 3 is not financial and material wealth, but the prosperity of good relationships and a life well lived in the company of God’s people.


Psalm 2 & 3 continue this theme of confidence in God. They especially express confidence in God's supportive and protective presence in the face of enemies. In Psalm 3, the line I find especially resonates, for our current situation, is “But you, o Lord, are a shield around me.”   I don’t see God as a shield from the coronavirus, but rather as a shield that can be called upon to help buffer us from the alarm and anxiety, a supportive and reassuring presence that helps us keep up the safe practices required for as long a we need to.


Then comes Psalm 4. While the last three psalms have stated confidence that God will be present, Psalm 4 begins with frustration. “Answer me, when I call, o God!.... be gracious to me and hear my prayer. How long shall my honour suffer shame?”


The psalmist is having some doubts, some wonderings, about how exactly God is showing up in the situation. That’s what I love about the psalm writers. They don’t hold back or try to be nice to God or to anyone about what they are feeling. They express exactly what is in their hearts and minds, even stating the desire, in Psalm 3, that God would break the teeth of the wicked.


Yet, Psalm 4 returns to confidence at the end. That often happens in psalms. Once the psalm writer has expressed all of their emotions, they are able to rest again in God.                 “I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, o Lord, make me lie down in safety.”   There is rest once the frustration, anxiety and alarm have been expressed.


I find myself these days, as I tuck into bed at night and pull the quilt up, saying, as I rest my head on the pillow, "Right now, I am safe. Right now, I can rest. God is with me. My family love me. All is well.”


I don’t believe, as I said, that God is magically going to put a protective shield around me that keeps me from getting COVID-19 but I do believe that God is with us, and that I can rest in God, finding reassurance, courage and hope. I can rest in the moment, knowing I am safe and loved. That is a message we need to tell ourselves. That is a message we need to tell our children and grandchildren. Right now, at this moment, you are safe and loved.


And that, is the message from today’s psalm writer! “I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, o Lord, make me lie down in safety.”  


Please know that, in this moment, you are safe and loved. Praise God for that gift!


With love and blessings,

Rev. Susan & Rev. David

High River United Church – a community of help, home & hope

“Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy.” A. Heschel





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