By Beth Bontrager, Mennonite Historical Library administrative assistant
Scripture: Psalm 121 (NRSV)
Starting something new is scary. We moved a lot when I was in elementary school, or at least it felt like a lot. I remember having lived two years in Hesston, Kansas, and asking my parents when we were moving, since we moved every couple of years. They laughed and said we were settled for a while. Turned out to be 40+ years!
Today’s Psalm 121 was one of the first scriptures I remember my mother, Buetta, helping me memorize. I also learned the two versions of the text in the Hymnal: Worship Book and the Mennonite Hymnal. I believe my mom turned to this psalm as a comfort, knowing that no matter where God called our family to go and serve, God would go with us and provide for us. Reflecting on those first years in Hesston, money was very tight, yet somehow we made it through, complete with trips to the east to maintain relationships with extended family, phone calls (short) to family, always after 11:00 p.m. when rates dropped, and developing substitute family among the many friends in church and at Hesston College. God provided for and did not desert us.
Abram must have been scared: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” No GPS, no map, not even a direction or name of a place! Just “Go!” “We walk by faith and not by sight” says Hymnal: Worship Book #570. I recall that my parents bought our house in Hesston sight-unseen, relying on my uncle to evaluate the place as suitable for our family. Again, trust, leaning on God’s provision.
We have vigilant dogs who, sometimes annoyingly, bark at anything that moves outside the house. They neither “slumber nor sleep.” But there is comfort there in their watchfulness. So God is always on alert, knowing our needs, our fears, our troubles—and is always there with the Holy Spirit or a holy human minister to be our help.
So, today, as we seek the extent of God’s faithful loving presence, know that God is with you, wherever your foot falls, whatever challenge you encounter, whatever evil you fear around the corner. You are loved, you are kept, you are protected. There is no end to God’s presence.
Scripture: Psalm 121 (NRSV)
I lift up my eyes to the hills from where will my help come?
2My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.