March 9, 2019 Psalm 91 Annie Girresch Director, AMEN St. Louis
Living in the Most High’s shelter,
camping in the Almighty’s shade,
I say to the Lord, “You are my refuge, my stronghold!
You are my God—the one I trust!”
What does it mean to you to live in the shelter of God? To make the Holy your refuge? Maybe it’s just me, but I think it can be challenging for some of us living in the U.S. to fully grasp this concept. I didn’t grow up rich, but my family always had what we needed. I have always known where I was going to lay my head at night. So when I think of living in the shelter of God, I imagine that my brothers and sisters who’ve been unhoused or who have lived in a refugee camp might know a thing or two that I don’t.
And yet even when we have all the access in the world to shelter, we can still live with a deep sense of not having a home. Broken family relationships, being marginalized in our religious homes because of gender identity or sexual orientation, and a pervasive sense of loneliness and isolation are all aspects of our culture that can cause us to feel like we don’t have a community where we belong. Where we can show up and bring our whole selves, nothing checked at the door.
The beauty of Lent is that it gives us an opportunity to scale back, dive deep, and remember our residence in God’s household. To remember our first and forever home in the shelter of the Most High. Fasting, giving things up temporarily, doing acts of service, and creating worship space for lament – these Lenten practices help us to overcome our numbness. I often find that fasting – whether it’s from coffee, chocolate, or Facebook – deepens my sense of gratitude and appreciation for what I have. Letting go of certain things frees us from using them as coping mechanisms and asks us to reach out in connection instead.
Today, I invite you to ask yourself – what gets in the way of noticing and cherishing your shelteredness in God? What wanderings have caused you to forget, and are you ready to come back home? What might help you to really know in your being that God is your refuge?