My thoughts (Teri Brown):
As I contemplated what God is saying to me when I began reading Psalm 91, I immediately envisioned this giant cupped hand following people around as they tended to daily activities. This hand of God appears gentle, guiding in a comforting manner like a parent behind a toddler taking first steps or more like a Reiki Master who, without actually physically touching people, is able to direct each and every one of us through life with healing power. God shelters us from the worst of storms, the “fowler’s snare,” the “terror of the night,” and harsher times.
As I read the passage, I am reminded of my own parents, especially my mother who passed away a few years ago. She had been prepared to care for my father who had been originally diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but was eventually considered to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, with Parkinsonism and dementia. I recall her stating what activities she might be able to engage in again once he passed, but how she understood the need to be by his side, through “better or worse, in sickness and in health.” As the person on whom he had focused most of his attention, she became the one he responded to with love, and he was unable to concentrate when she was not around. But at night when sundowners’ effects caused him to become confused, angry, and violent, she also was dedicated to being at his side and to endure the pain and suffering.
But she was called by God before my father passed; and due to a fall with complications, including MRSA, she was released from continuing to watch Dad’s health spiral downward. As one of seven children, I was assigned the task of spending time with her and/or my father in those last few months, so that a family member was almost always by their side. I grew to love her more as I came to a realization about her. Often in my own life I had emulated her and did not see the replication until I actually spent those moments alone with her, contemplating her life. I now understood what others meant when they stated, “You did the best you could under the circumstances.”
So as the seven children prepared for her funeral (my parents had done most of the pre-planning, but we were left with minor details), I recalled a song that she loved which actually includes lines from Psalm 91. My mother would come alive during church services; she was observed to be engrossed in the soloist’s words and the lilt of the music, when the song “On Eagle’s Wings” (Michael Joncas), was sung. This song/psalm fit so well as all my siblings agreed this would be appropriate and as my mother’s life and now my own are resonated in each line.
I, like my mother, followed a pattern of submissiveness and martyrdom even though inside I was silently screaming about reform, civil rights and celebrating of diversity. I, like my mother, made appearances and tried not to make waves, conforming to the times. Yet, there was an awareness by some people of the gentle protests and the yearning for something different. Somehow I knew, and she must have known, that by being who I was at the time, with the soft challenging, and rarely spoken protests, in reality it represented God’s hand, gently pushing us into a time of change, trusting us with forward thinking, personal attributes, and diverse situations.
God will “call upon me and I will answer him.” God will hover by my side, ready to catch me or to steer me clear of the worst of circumstances, but protecting me in the storms of life and assisting me, and all of us, in finding the way.
Thought for the day: What is God calling you for? What obstacles will God guide you through?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.