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?
I live in England. I say England, rather than Britain. Why? Because England is flat. Scotland has proper mountains. Wales has proper mountains. I live in the Cotswolds, in England – which is a few gentle hills.
Earlier this year I was visiting a pastor and his churches in Translyvania, which is part of Romania. From every town, and every village you could see a mountain. Proper mountains. They loomed over the town, were always there, you could see them from everywhere. You can imagine living in these communities before people had cars, and so you lived every single day in the shadow of the mountain closest to your home. It was always there. You understand why in some parts of the world people living near a mountain associated it with a god.
Psalm 121; the second of the journey songs (Psalms of ascents); begins with a mountain:
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
You can imagine our pilgrims, walking towards Jerusalem, passing a mountain. They look up and are awed by its size, its permanence and its strength. They know that many people in their culture look to the mountain gods. Baal-Zaphon, was one of the main Caananite gods, and he was a god of the mountain.
But, and it’s a big but, the psalm writer reminds themselves that although the mountain is big, strong & permanent – their help doesn’t come from there. Their help comes from the LORD. The LORD who did what? He made heaven and earth – including the mountains.
The Psalm then goes on to describe the LORD (YaHWeH – Jehovah) in very active terms. He is not a static mountain, He is the God who is on the move: He is Maker, protector, watcher, He doesn’t sleep, He is your shade and your keeper.
3 He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore.
So, let us remind ourselves today, to take note of all the things around us, to acknowledge their size & power. Whether this is a mountain, a government, our boss, the economy, the media, Google. But, and it’s a big but – let us remember that our help needs to ultimately come from the Lord – who made heaven and earth.
Have a blessed day.