“There” - June 24, 2020
“If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:8-10
Distancing. Keeping distance from each other and particularly loved ones is a challenge during this ongoing time of Covid-19 restrictions. Recently I drove a great distance in one day so that I could visit my 92-year-old mother for her birthday. Before I left, she and I posed for a picture; she standing at one end of the garage door and me at the other, keeping distance.
Currently many people are feeling the sting of distance, knowing that they are unable to visit with relatives living in the US or in other foreign countries or the other side of our own country. Other people are wondering about the impact our distancing might have on our regular worship life over the long term. Will some people give up the habit of gathering together in person (see Hebrews 10)?
Psalm 139 is rich with reminders that God is present with us and our loved ones, far and near. Whatever our “distancing concerns,” God will be there. He is with distant loved ones. He is with us. Whether it’s aging parents, children or grandchildren currently far afield or people we haven’t been able to engage with regularly, the poet reminds us that no one can outdistance the loving presence of God.
Some people may be unnerved by the image of a God from whom we cannot hide, who is always just ‘there,’ present in every place we are and have been. But the person of Jesus Christ who came and was fully present with us (John 1:14) shows us that that God’s presence is loving, a powerful assurance that God ‘holds us fast.’ (Ps.139:10)
PRAYER ENCOURAGEMENT: O God, help us today to set aside our anxieties as best we can and instead rest in the knowledge that you are present with us, our loved ones and all people in every moment and every place. In the name of the One whose loving presence comes to us by your Spirit, Jesus Christ, AMEN
Links to Norton Hall Band “He Will Hold Me Fast” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0345Ls4IJf4