“The Lord helps them and rescues them; he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him.” -Psalm 37:40 (NRSV)
Who is “them?” I presume the “them” referred to in the psalm are those being abused and mistreated by the wicked. I am always uncomfortable painting with such a broad brush. In fact, when it comes to painting, I leave the broad strokes and paint-rolling to others. Give me the skinny brush and let me cut in the corners and trim. I would rather spend two hours painting a single window, cutting in all the mullions, sashes, and such whatnot than to spend that same time rolling all the walls in the house. Why? Because I like precision. I would rather backspace forty percent of the time to correct a grammatical or spelling error than to let autocorrect do it. Why? Because I don’t care about the rules. The words in a document mean what I want them to mean, the way I mean to say them. I know what the rules are, and rules are important, but they are secondary to the precision with which I wish to speak. Having said that, however, I am also gravely aware that I am not the keeper of my destiny or captain of my soul, but the servant of God, so I gladly flee to the only refuge that matters because, well, because God knows the rules, but has found them secondary to the love which God has for us AND for the world. God has taken the time to cut in the corners, mullions, and sashes of our twisty crazy lives and transform us – so that we can open, close, and, by God’s grace, let the light of God shine through to a dark and dingy world during this Advent season.
Gracious God, you who paint sunrises, sunsets, and the seasons in their courses – you paint our lives as well. Whether black and white or with boldness of color, we are your artwork; the earth is your fridge. May the world see you when they look at us, and may we never be ashamed of who we are, what we are, or whose we are. Amen.
– Fr. Keith Axberg