Read: Psalm 3
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me…
I am fortunate. I have not known many enemies. Unlike the psalmist, I don’t know of anyone who is/was out to kill me. Oh sure, I was a cop and I’ve been shot at (and missed), but I don’t believe the poor soul who was mentally distraught was out to get me. He was in too much pain to know what he was doing. No, I’ve had adversaries and antagonists over the years, but none I would count as enemies (even if they counted me one).
What I have found corrosive isn’t being on an enemy’s hit-list, but being ignored, abandoned, or counted as nothing. That’s where I have found the fires of hell licking me every now and again. God says I am of value – that each of us is of value – but to be zilch in the eyes of another is too painful to bear. The psalmist knows that, and while the warrior acknowledges the value and protection of a shield, what I find of greater comfort is the image of God wrapping arms around me. An embrace is God’s shield. I confess I’m not much into hugs, but during this time of Pandemic distancing, God knows I’ve missed hugs terribly much, especially when I hurt.
My pain is relieved when I perceive the psalmist’s prayer for a shield is a cry for a hug. Hugs are healing touches and blessed.
God, you know the pain each of us feels, the fear each of us harbors. Assure us of your love. Wrap us in the arms of your love. Send us arms to wrap us tight and make us right; be our shield and our delight. Amen.
-The Rev. Keith Axberg