Reflection March 11
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler
Right now, I have a 4-year-old and a 14-year-old. And while they are ten years apart, there is something critical and core to their identity, to their need. Both of them, on sleepy Saturday mornings, or maybe quiet evenings, come to my bedroom, looking for softness and safety—for the affirmation that they are welcome and protected, that there is warmth and rest available to them in the wide expanse of my bed. This is the most intimate space of our family’s communion, and for my children, there is a need to know that the welcome doesn’t wear out.
I remember this from my own childhood, the clean warmth of my parents’ bedroom and the smell of my mother’s skin in the summer when she held me. While I want to preserve the importance of corporately responding to Scripture, particularly during Lent, when as the body of Christ we turn together to better know Christ’s journey—this Psalm seems particularly personal in its language and promise, as if it invites the reader to remember the child-like need for intimate rest in a space that the Lord specially keeps for each of us. I’ll reference C.S. Lewis here (because I always do). In one of his novels, Lewis claims that “when alone—really alone—everyone is a child.”
Whether the Psalmist here is David, Warrior-King, or Moses who saw the face of God at the top of Sinai, or whether it is the voice of you and I who walk in both the joy and the suffering of a fallen world, this scripture invites us to return to our core and critical need. God speaks to who we are alone…oftentimes, just children who are longing for a safe, warm place, one of intimacy, rest, and protection, where the welcome does not wear out.
In verse 3, the passage tells us that the Lord will shelter us under the pinions of his wing. The pinions are the outer layer of feathers, including those designed for flight. And underneath, I imagine, are the more fluffy, downy layers. This is where God invites us to rest, and who can fit in that downy space except for a child who is willing to be gentle, trusting, vulnerable and known.