I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. God will not let your foot be moved; God who keeps you will not slumber. The Lord who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; the Holy One will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and for evermore.
~ Psalm 121
Breath Prayer: “going out” “coming in”
Psalm 121 is believed to be a traveling song. We've been told that it was used as pilgrims were setting out on their journey. Travelers would gather the night before they were to set out. Together they made their final plans and collected all they would need. When morning came, those who were staying behind would encircle them, offering blessings and sending them off on their journey.
As we read through the words of this psalm, we can almost hear them singing. We can almost hear the travelers singing quietly the first couple of lines, perhaps in the hushed and anxious tones. And then the ones who were staying back picked up the melody and continued with words of reassurance for those journeying on. Their faith is shining through in this song, as we can almost witness the sun rising behind them.
Who has sung words of blessing for you as you have stepped out? Who are those who have believed in you and sung songs of hope and strength as the sun was rising at your back?
Stepping out on a long journey can be intimidating. It’s a long, difficult trip. Psalm 121 reminds us that there are songs sung in our lives for two voices. We do our part, and by grace or some great love another voice enters into our song and gives us the energy, the strength, the reassurance to do the next thing. Psalm 121 connects our piece to the greater one, our story lives within the Great Story. This song is a living reminder of that blessing.
Prayer: Gracious and merciful God, your blessing for our lives is a precious gift. We give you thanks for our song of the morning, when we begin again. We give you thanks for others in our lives who continue to sing to us those words of faith, lest we forget. Amen.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.