My Light and Salvation - Reflections 3-12-2022

Texts for Sunday March 13, 2022
Second Sunday in Lent

Gen 15:1-12, 17-18
Psalm 27
Philippians 3:17-4:1
Luke 13:31-35

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? 
Ps 27

How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood.
Lk 13:34b

I didn’t write a devotion last week. I got distracted as the Russians invaded Ukraine, appalled that one person had the will, power, cold-heartedness to send 190,000 troops to attack a country. The plan to occupy brings with it indiscriminate attacks on people (maternity/pediatric hospital?) with no attention to international legal standards for humanitarian treatment of civilians. I lit a candle and prayed.

I’m back this week, still distracted by the violence, but the texts remind me that many in the world are praying. The Ukrainian people are held lovingly in God’s hands even in the midst of that horror.

Psalm 27 is a treasured psalm of trust for many. It weaves together declarations of trust in God as a stronghold with statements and images of all the things that challenge trust. It ends with imperatives – wait, be strong, take heart.

When I have prayed this psalm in the past, I haven’t had to be concerned that actual armed soldiers were coming to kill me. I usually think of the foes as the forces and people who manipulate, find fault, lie, abuse, or denigrate. Also foes are those many internal enemies which point out errors and inadequacies, which demand that I claim power and privilege, which draw out a sense of worthlessness and shame.

But this week, I heard the voices of Ukrainian people in bomb-shelters, on long and dangerous treks to the borders of other countries, in refugee camps, and in Ukraine on the battlefield. These words are for them.

A small piece of Sunday’s gospel was poignant in light of the media coverage of the stream of refugees out of Ukraine. Jesus laments his people saying How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood. If you’ve been around chickens, you might have seen the determined stance of a mother hen staring down her foe, ready to fight to the death to save those chicks under her wings. That determination, that fierceness can be seen on the faces of those mothers traveling through impossible circumstances to get their children to safety. God sees, shares their lament, and gifts the mothers with calm and unwavering power to find security and shalom.

I am humbled by the scenes of war.

May these texts enfold you with the promise that God is near, a shelter and a stronghold wherever you find yourself.

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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245