“God is my shield, who saves the upright in heart.” -Psalm 7:10 (NRSV)
I would like to think that I am among the “upright,” but I know better. Oh sure, grading on the curve there are a few I could turn around and sneer at (if I were a sneering sort of person). But God doesn’t grade on the curve. When I was a child, my brother and I would find old bits of wood – lath from plaster and lath construction jobs – and we would “sword-fight” with those sticks. I would often grab a garbage can lid and use it as a shield. It was pretty effective, cutting down the amount of pounding I would otherwise have received from my bigger, older, and fiercer brother. I never think of God saving me because I’m upright. As I said, I know better. But I do like the image of God standing before me – each of us, really – with shield in hand and making sure that “Today, you’ll be OK. I’ve got your back (and your front).” I like to think of the mask I wear when I am out in public as a shield God has given me to protect myself AND others. It isn’t that we are upright in “our” heart, but we’re being upright in God’s heart! I like to think the vaccines we’ve been given are another shield, another layer of protection God has provided, like chain-mail, that protects myself AND others. The world has certainly gone whacky over the past few years, but my strength and comfort during this pandemical season are knowing God has tucked us into a strong, warm, and loving place, protected by ribs and armor and shields. I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be during this Advent season.
We don’t always live up to the status you have for us – upright – and yet you do not call us what we are alone, but what we can be in you. Find us a place to rest easy in your heart that we may tread lightly the journey that yet lies before us. Thank you for your eternal presence. Amen.
– Fr. Keith Axberg