High River United Church of High River, Alberta

Reflecting on our Priorities - May 20

Grace & Peace to you!


Susan’s Reflections on Psalms 20

“Some take pride in chariots and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7)

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What amazes me about scripture, and especially the psalms, is the way that the themes and images transcend time and speak to our current situations and experiences.   While chariots, especially, and horses may not be what we take pride in today, we can easily substitute other items: “Some take pride in their houses and cars, but our pride is in the name of God.” or it might be “good looks and fine clothing” or “achievements and trophies”……


I remember, when David & I travelled in Botswana and Zimbabwe in the summer of 1993, gaining clear insight into what was valued in each of those countries. There is nothing like being out of one’s own context and culture to see things in a new way. In Botswana, we quickly noticed that though people had very simple and small homes, outside many of them were parked new, shiny cars. We asked our friends about this, and learned that in Botswana, if one had money, then it was put into a car. Then we travelled in Zimbabwe, and saw run-down vehicles and many, many people walking long distances to work. And the homes were simple and small. Zimbabwe has always been a poorer country than Botswana, but still we were curious, so asked our friends about the difference. We learned that in Zimbabwe, if people were able to save money, it was used to send their children to university outside of Zimbabwe. It was seen as the only hope for them to improve their lives.


North America is known for valuing our material goods. We are a consumerist society; we love our chariots and horses – or whatever 21st century version of those we might name.   However, this pandemic time has put us into a new context and invites us to see our lives in a new way. It is a time when we can re-examine our priorities.


What does it mean to have pride in the name of God? For me, that is keeping God and the practice of our faith as the priority. I believe it is about naming and understanding God as our centre, God as our creator, God as the one in whom we live and move and have our being. Jesus told us, “Love God with all your heart, and mind, and strength and soul, and love your neighbour as your self.” It is the living of those two essential commandments that for me is having pride in God, as the psalmist states.


Out of our love of God, flows love for our families and our friends as a priority in life. Out of love of God, comes a priority of gathering together (when we are able) to support and care for one another, and worship God together. Out of love of God, comes a priority for seeking justice in this world, and speaking out for compassionate living that cares for our earth, environment, and all God’s creatures – birds, animals and humans. With God as our centre, our priorities become clear.


“Some take pride in chariots and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.” These are days to reflect on what truly is essential to our lives and our faith. Thanks be to God!


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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