The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?
My viewing during lockdown has included the Netflix series, The Last Kingdom. I had read the first two books from Bernard Cornwell, and then moved onto the TV series becasue I’m lazy.
It is set in Anglo-Saxon times in Britain; the 9th & 10th century and is partially historical. It features, among many other characters, Cnut. King Cnut. Known to many as King Canute. He was a Danish/Viking/English king during this tumultuous period in the history of these islands.
He is best known for something, that may never have happened, involving the sea. In an effort to prove to his courtiers that his power was rather limited, and there was a lot he couldn’t do – he went down to the seaside. The story goes that he had his throne placed on the beach, sat on it, and commanded the tide to stop coming in. The tide continued to come in until Cnut and his throne were rather wet.
The limits to power.
Psalm 114 takes the same idea, applies it to God, with a rather different result:
When Israel came out of Egypt, Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
2 Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3 The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; 4 the mountains leapt like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 Why was it, sea, that you fled? Why, Jordan, did you turn back? Why, mountains, did you leap like rams, you hills, like lambs?
Once again, this psalm is going back to the Exodus. Israel escapes from Egypt – and the story starts and ends with waters being held back by God – the Red Sea on leaving Egypt, and the River Jordan 40 years later on entering Canaan.
Only God could do this. No-one else can do this. Rivers and seas can be blocked or dammed. But it takes years to do. God did it in a moment.
So how do we respond to God? We should come in reverence before the only one who can do this:
7 Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.
Also, do you notice the bit at the end? The earth is called to fear God – the one who can hold back the sea. But he is also the one who can bring water out of a rock.
God likes performing miracles with water. Jesus did a couple, if you remember.
Have a great day.