22 February 2010

Lenten Devotions: Safe

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Luke 13.34

I am willing. Lord Jesus, I am SOOOOOO willing tonight...

Tonight was one of those nights when I realized, yet again, how different things are from, say, 2007 or so. People just look so tired anymore - and I feel tired. Tired of bearing the constant burden of uncertainty and anxiety. Tired of broken trust, disappointment and, to be perfectly frank, unvented anger that I've probably nourished a bit too well. I'm tired of feeling as though all I do is catch up, that I never get my head far enough above the water to do anything more than keep treading water like crazy. I'm tired of finishing things just before they're due - I thought I left all that behind when I graduated from seminary, yet I find myself back in the same patterns all over again.

This is an incredibly opportune time to be the church, but I'm afraid we're missing it. We, like the world around us, bear the burdens of anxiety and fear, and in a time when we could be presenting the world with a different way of being, we find ourselves marching in lockstep with the anxious, reactive, angry mob that just wants someone's head on a platter. We downsize, just like everyone else. We cut budgets, just like everyone else. We bicker and blame, just like everyone else. And we continue to trudge along until the picture brightens, just like everyone else.

This is about more than money. I think we're tired because we've not been sheltered as we could be. Tonight I think of those holy wings coming down around me, and I want that more than anything. I want to feel safe: don't you want the same? Isn't that part of our calling, one to another, to make the church a place where, even in hard times, people are safe, sheltered, secure in who they are and to whom they belong? I think this is also what Jesus wants: for his people to rest securely in Him and in Him alone. Ah, holy Jesus, help me to trust you, now in the hour of uncertainty and anxiety, this time of fatigue and fear. Wrap your loving wings around me, Lord Jesus, and keep me safe.

Grace & peace,

Thy Holy Wings

"Thy holy wings O savior
spread gently over me,
and let me rest securely
through good and ill in Thee.
Oh be my strength and portion,
my rock and hiding place,
and let my ev’ry moment
be lived within thy grace.

Oh, let me nestle near thee,
within thy downy breast
where I will find sweet comfort
and peace within thy nest.
Oh, close thy wings around me
and keep me safely there,
for I am but a newborn
and need thy tender care.

Oh, wash me in the waters
of Noah's cleansing flood.
Give me a willing spirit,
a heart both clean and good.
Oh, take into thy keeping
thy children great and small,
and while we sweetly slumber,
enfold us one and all. "

- Carolina Sandell Berg, 1832-1903


  1. What else can you do but downsize? You've gone from 5.3 million in 1987 to just about 4.68 million today and the rate of decrease is increasing. Once Ole and Lena go to their reward by 2040, you're church will have about a dozen members left.

  2. Thanks for this. I was leaning toward Genesis 15 instead of Luke for Sunday, but you've helped me to connect the two.