A Home For The Fragile
Today’s scripture selection: Psalms 84-86
Key verse: Psalm 84:3
Most of us, whether we admit it or not, feel fragile now and then. There are certainly times when we feel at the top of our game. But there are other times when, for whatever reason, we feel like we need a place of refuge and rest.
The Psalmist assures us, God is that place.
“Even the sparrow has found a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young – a place near your altar.”
That gentle, peaceful image strikes me – especially the part about being near the altar. How can that be? After all, most altars – including the one of ancient Israel – are places of great violence. They are, by their very nature, known for sacrifice, pain, death.
Yet there’s the paradox.
Hidden near to this place of sacrificial pain is a place of refuge and rest.
So it is, according to Christian tradition, a place near the cross.
It’s difficult to imagine a more painful, horrible death than hanging on a cross for hours. Movie makers and story tellers over the years have done a “great” job of pointing out just how horrible.
But, ironically, it is through this great sacrifice of Jesus that God draws near to us and offers us a place of ultimate peace and hope – a place where death is defeated forever.
Maybe that image of a sparrow finding a home; a fragile swallow tending to her young – right next to a bloody altar – points to the same thing.
It’s a mystery, one some find to be a “stumbling block” of faith – totally unacceptable.
But embrace it, when you feel most fragile – and I believe you will find the deep, abiding, conquering love of God – at its best.
Prayer: Eternal, loving God, help me to see your love hidden in the sacrificial altar; hidden in the cross. AMEN.