Psalm 31:3: “Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.”
This summer a tourist fell into the crater on Mt Vesuvius while trying to retrieve the phone he dropped just past the rim. Luckily, he survived the fall and was not added to the growing statistic of people who die while attempting the perfect selfie. This story is a good reminder to not get too close to the edge when it comes to going about our life ambitions.
Today is the last day of Lifespring’s annual “breather month,” a time when we intentionally pull back from the edge of our busy lives to reconnect and rest with God, family, friends, and ourselves. Whether you practiced “Breather Month” fully, partially, or not at all, we are all about to be back on the edge with a demanding and uncertain upcoming fall season.
This week’s psalm, Psalm 31, is fittingly about survival. Here the psalmist calls out to God for help as he goes through some serious hardships and dangers. Sometimes called the “death” psalm, Jesus quoted from this psalm upon his death.
While most of us aren’t currently facing what Jesus or the psalmist were facing, neither “caught in the trap of our enemies”, or “ forgotten as though we are dead”, all of us can be careless and reckless with the many edges in our lives, be they emotional, physical, societal and the like. Like the tourist at Mt. Vesuvius, when we do get too close to these edges, we run the risk of falling into some dangerous craters.
In Ps 31:3 the psalmist reaffirms his place away from such edges. He recalls that he is safe with God, alone. He compares being with God to the safety of rock and fortress. In the safety of God, he looks to God to lead and guide him through his perilous situation.
Long before this psalm was written, God, “the Rock”, wrote out ten specific leading instructions on a rock. One of these guides us in the practice of a specific, set-aside, weekly, rhythm of rest, the Sabbath. Sabbath is God’s way of sheltering us. Sabbath is how we can remain “fortressed” with God no matter what comes our way. Like Lifesprings’ Breather-Month, the Sabbath practice keeps us from stepping over the edges of over-consumption, over-work, over-involvement, over-self-interest, and over-exploitation of others and the environment. It keeps us up on top of the mountain instead of trapped inside the crater.
With the practice of sabbath, we take care that we don’t go dangerously over the edges of our humanity. With a practice of sabbath we declare the following with action not words “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands… “(Ps 31: 14-15a)
Today, as we say “au revoir, sayōnara, bayartai, antio sas, kwaheri, La revedere, good-bye “to Breather Month until next year, may we also say “hello” to a refreshed rhythm of sabbath as a way staying sheltered with God and keeping away from dangerous edges. Sheltered with God through Sabbath – now that’s the perfect selfie!
Prayer of Response:
Oh Lord, our rock and fortress. thank you for providing shelter and rest in you no matter what the circumstances. Amen.
Questions to Ponder:
1. In what ways do you experience God as your rock, your fortress?
2. What Sabbath practice do you desire in the coming months?
3. How might a renewed commitment to a regular schedule of weekly sabbath rest help you to better experience God as your rock and your fortress?
4, How might a renewed commitment to a regular schedule of weekly sabbath rest help and bless the world around you?
—Submitted by Janice Gutierrez
Janice currently serves on the unofficial Lifesprings Cheerleading team as part of her Rule of Life. Go Lifesprings!