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Lent 2A Psalm

Psalm 121

Aimee Niles

Psalm 121 is a pilgrim song, a song of travelers, a song of those who have left their homes and doors behind. This is a psalm of journey, and a psalm written not for the upper echelons of society–not for the priests or kings, but for the common people. For the ordinary, everyday people as they made their way to Jerusalem–either literally, as for feast days, or metaphorically, as for the people of Israel caught in exile.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come?” (NRSV)

You are weary. Your feet are sore and you are not sure how much further you will be able to walk. Your foot catches a stone, and you fall to your knees. Scraped and bloodied, you are all but ready to give up. Sitting back on your heels, you raise your eyes to what lies ahead: mountains, and beyond, your goal. But you know that you cannot continued on by yourself. By yourself, you are too weak. Dead tired, you ask “from where will my help come?”

“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (NRSV)

Though your eyes cannot see, you know what are upon those mountain tops: the idols and false gods in whom others place their faith. But your God is the maker of those mountains. Your God is the creator of all that is seen and unseen. Your God is greater, and it is from here your help comes. Your strength for the journey is not an upwelling of internal fortitude, it is given by the God and Creator of the mountains.

“He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

You get back to your feet, aching still, but ready to carry forth. God is with you. Your journey is far from easy, far from over, but God is there to keep your feet steady and firm. You need sleep, you need rest, you need to close your eyes and regain physical strength. God does not sleep. God, the God who saves and will save, does not close God’s eyes and leave you to be overtaken. God does not turn away and leave you to the wolves, bandits, and dangers of the journey.

“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.”

The sun beats down without mercy. Your head is hot, and your throat burns with thirst. Physically, you take care on the journey to protect yourself. But you are more than your physical self. Your heart, your soul, your hope also needs protection from the beating sun, and burning moon. Life is not easy; perhaps your journey is one of exile. Perhaps you are a pilg