S (Scripture): 2 Samuel 22:1 David spoke the words of this song to the Lord after the Lord delivered him from the power of all his enemies and from Saul.
The Lord is my solid rock, my fortress, my rescuer.
My God is my rock—I take refuge in him!—
he’s my shield and my salvation’s strength,
my place of safety and my shelter.
My savior! Save me from violence!
Because he is praiseworthy,
I cried out to the Lord,
and I was saved from my enemies.
Death’s waves were all around me;
rivers of wickedness terrified me.
The cords of the grave surrounded me;
death’s traps held me tight.
In my distress I cried out to the Lord;
I cried out to my God.
God heard my voice from his temple;
my cry for help reached his ears.
O (Observation): David has had quite the wild ride: anointed as king in private while Saul was still king, rose to power, battled those loyal to Saul, ran from Saul and his supporters, returned to power, then ran from his throne when one of Saul’s sons wanted to kill David, and finally back home again on the throne God prepared for him.
And now, in the wake of these disasters and for God’s loyal love and faithfulness to David through it all, David sings God’s praises. For David recognizes that God carries forth no matter what is going on in our lives. God continually watches over us and provides grace for when we go astray or when we are under attack.
David knows that – despite all of the ups and downs – God is constant and unmoved and full of grace.
A (Application): I don’t know how the Jewish community would take a text like this one I selected, and agree with David, in light of the terrorist attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue near Pittsburgh, PA.
Perhaps they would see that God, in all of our ups and downs, is with us. That when we are feeling high and mighty, God is with us. That when we are feeling loneliness and despair and sorrow, God is with us there, too.
My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of those who died last Saturday at this temple.
I am also encouraged by the responses thus far. Responses that include Muslim neighbors stating that they are prepared to donate at least $70,000 for the families who lost loved ones or were injured, and that they are willing to provide protection to anyone who feels unsafe.
I am encouraged by Jewish leaders across the nation who have shared that LOVE will win this day, and not darkness.
I am encouraged that – despite the dividing rhetoric being spewed these days – we can see people coming together.
May we celebrate God’s ongoing righteousness and steadfast love, especially in the midst of such challenging circumstances.
P (Prayer): Lord, guide us always into peace, into shalom. Amen.