In God the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust and will not be afraid,* for what can mortals do to me?/ I am bound by the vow I made to you, O God;*I will present to you thank-offerings;/For you have rescued my soul from death and my feet from stumbling,*that I may walk before God in the light of the living. (Psalm 56: 10-12)It was not too long ago that I felt my life and my spirit leeching away. Not to over-labor the point, and honestly this post is not about the past, I am looking at a path forward in life that I see truly as a gift from God. Much, I imagine, in the same way that someone who has survived a great crisis looks at their survival from that point onward as a gift, I am seeing the roads and paths unfolding in front of Laura and myself as a continuing testament to a God who truly is mighty to save. We have been through one of life's "valleys of the shadow of death" and are now wondering at the sunrise...or, perhaps more appropriately, the "Son's rise" of Christ calling us to new and wondrous adventures in ministry and in life. The past year and a half have been a blessing of healing light and energy in the midst of a loving and supportive chapter of the Body of Christ, and now new adventures unfold as the summer ends and our preparation for a new program year and the summation of this interim period arrives with the advent of this parish's search opening for its new rector.
During morning prayer, as I was getting ready for the challenges of today, I came across the above lines in Psalm 56. The psalmist is offering praise to God for deliverance from those who have been attacking him/her, and is in effect offering the remainder of their life to God as a thank-offering, a gift of life to God for the grace of deliverance from harm, grief, sorrow and even death at the hands of those who would have taken their life.
God is indeed good, and that present aid that the psalmist is talking about seems to have been a constant companion in our lives of late. Note, please, that I am not speaking to all the good things that have happened to us in the past year (the renewal of energy in ministry, the returning sense of vitality and joy in work and play, etc.), but also for ALL that this year has brought-even the pain of new growth, struggle, and the challenges of bringing the Gospel to the world as the world both demands more and offers less to the church than ever before.
Psalm 56 reminds me of the taproot of my being, a priesthood to the Church and in Christ that has worked and reworked my being over and over again for the past 16 years. It also reminds me of the vows I have made to God in fidelity to my wife and to my baptism in Christ.
It is no small thing, and I give thanks to God, that I find myself this morning giving thanks-tangible and honest thanks-to God for rescuing my soul from death and my feet from stumbling...for I have died and stumbled all along the way and each time God is there to conduct me back toward new opportunities to walk before the one who creates, redeems and blesses me in the light of the living.
To God be praise, glory and honor. Amen.