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?

We recently ran an Alpha Course at our church (Alpha is for people who want to explore Christianity – to see if it’s true). My discussion group connected via WhatsApp and were chatting away over the weeks of the course. One week we got into a discussion about poetry and starting writing Haiku poems to each other (this sounds more intelligent than it actually was). Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that has been around for 1000 years.

Haiku have 3 lines, 5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second and 5 in the last (usually). Their style is “the focus on a brief moment in time; a use of provocative, colourful images; an ability to be read in one breath; and a sense of sudden enlightenment and illumination.”

Psalm 125 is haiku-like:

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures for ever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and for evermore.

The sceptre of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil.

Lord, do good to those who are good, to those who are upright in heart. But those who turn to crooked ways the Lord will banish with the evildoers.

Peace be on Israel.

It is short. It is in 3 parts. It uses dramatic images. It captures a moment.

In my mind, this Psalm is written as the pilgrims have come in sight of Jerusalem and can see Mount Zion – the hill on which Jerusalem sits. It turns them to prayer. They think of God surrounding His people as the mountain surrounds the city.

Then they pray that wickedness will leave their city and land.

Finally they ask for blessing for God’s people and a removal of those who do evil.

This is a wonderful response whenever we see somewhere that we know. As we walk into our street, and we drive into our city, town or village. As we are on a hill and we get a view overlooking houses & communities. This should stir us to pray. To pray for God’s people, to pray for everyone in our communities, to ask for evil to be removed. Do this whenever you are prompted as you see the places where you go.

And finally, here is Psalm 125 as a haiku:

God surrounds His own

Lift evil from our city

Lord God, do good. Peace.

Love Matt