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Psalm 62:5-12

I love the lectionary. It is an incredibly helpful tool which we as pastors can use to preach on passages, books, and ideas that we might not normally come to on our own. As much I appreciate the lectionary, I do sometimes find problems with some of the passages it assigns. This week is one of them. Psalm 62:5-12 is a terrific passage that reminds us that we are called to hope. It reminds us that God is faithfulness and that we can trust God to watch over us. It’s an incredibly uplifting passage, but I think it’s important to see the first four verses that start off this psalm as well.

The first two verses start off this psalm in a fashion that keeps right in line with the rest of the verses. They declare that we wait on God knowing that God is our rock, our salvation, and our fortress. God is the one in whom we can put our trust and our hope. God is steadfast and faithful. In verses 3-4 things seem to take an unexpected detour. We suddenly have a few verses of lamenting. After this brief lament, we see the psalmist returning to the idea of waiting on God. We are reminded once again that God is our rock, our salvation, and our fortress. When we look at the whole psalm we see that the psalmist has trusted in God, yet during that time he feels assailed battered. The psalmist doesn’t choose to walk away or call it quits with God, though. Instead, he recognizes that he during that troubling period that God is the one who is watching over him, caring for him, and guarding him.

This idea has been resonating with me for a while. Although I did not use this passage, this past weekend I spoke at an NYI Winter Retreat here on my district. One of the stories I told highlighted this idea of God being our steadfast fortress and the one who is faithful to us, even when feel assailed and assaulted on multiple sides.

Imagine this with me if you will. You are walking through a small town on a cold, snowy night. The buildings around you need to be painted and the road you’re walking down is dirty from the mixture of mud and snow that has gathered. As you’re walking you decide to walk through a field in order to reach your destination. You can’t help but notice how dirty the town is, how shaggy the buildings, and how chaotic the weather around you seems to be. Just yesterday it was nice out and now it snowing along with the wind whipping around. You see a dilapidated shed just up the field from you a little way, so you decide to rest and get out of the cold for a minute. You pry open the door to this shed, hoping it doesn’t collapse around you when you do. You have a seat on some of the hay and turn on your light (although at the time this story took place it would have been a candle, but just work with me). All of the sudden there against the wall you see the face of Christ staring at you.[1] You recognize this style, even though the background is long gone and nothing but the face reminds; it looks like the style of Andrei Rublev, the great icon writer from the 1400s. You tell others about this discovery and come to find out that this is indeed the work of Andrei Rublev and has been lost for nearly 500 years. In the midst of your chaotic night, you have somehow found Christ, sitting in the midst of the chaos going on in the world around you.

This is what our psalm for this week is doing. It is reminding us that God can be found in the chaos that is taking place around us. When we feel assailed and battered, God is to be found there in the chaos. When the world is going crazy, God is there, keeping steadfast and unwavering love for us. In the midst of the crazy, God is inviting us to come into God’s all-encompassing love and take shelter.

This psalm reminds us that in the midst of chaos, when everything seems to be going crazy, we are to look at the face of God and see that God is saying to us “I am your rock, I am your salvation, I am your fortress, and you are my beloved child, so sit a while and find your rest in me.

[1] This icon is known as Christ the Redeemer (aka The Savior of Zvenigorod).