Excerpted from Power Made Perfect in Weakness, a Lenten Guide for Lectionary Year A from the North Carolina Council of Churches.
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.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
He 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;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and for evermore.
Our deepest belief as a person of faith is the spiritual assurance of the power and protection of God. In Psalm 121 we are given the vision of strength in the long lasting hills, and the support of the Creator of Heaven and Earth. We are reminded that God is constantly awake, watching, helping and guiding as we learn to navigate this world and experience all that life has to offer, for better or for worse. Our knowing that this divine reality exists gives us permission to be humble, gentle and meek.
On the 2nd Sunday in Lent, we are still beginning our journey and we look to the hills as a way to focus our intentions and affirm our needs will be met through our convictions in God. In these Lenten days, we are reflecting, repenting, and preparing to be ready to receive the blessings of Easter. We trust that God’s power is revealed by acknowledging our own weaknesses. God’s love for Jesus allows him to suffer, with the all-knowingness that his soul is forever protected and preserved. When we are most vulnerable, our faith protects us.
In today’s world of corruption and deceit, lies and fake news, our sensibilities are being attacked and our kind hearts tormented. We are tempted by evil forces to be self-centered and curse our opponents, but instead we must experience our own inner-strength through penance and denial of ego. Our confidence must not come from artificial sources of power but instead from our trust in facts and science, truth and justice. Our Lenten meditations must be focused on the inspired affirmation of God keeping “our going out and our coming in” day and night.
Caring for God’s Creation and recognizing we are of that same Creation is our most significant way of proving our faith and to be assured that the promises of God are reliable and worthy of our gratitude. We have pushed this planet to the brink of ecological destruction and we must understand that we too will be destroyed as we are one with the earth. The Sun and Moon cannot hurt us and our love for this world, God’s Creation, is what we are called to cherish and protect.
On this 2nd Sunday in Lent let us “lift our eyes to the hills” knowing that God is here to help. We just need to show our love by tending to the garden, because God is watching.
Through the light of faith, help us to see this world, our common home, not as a resource to dominate and exploit, but as a gift to be cherished by all generations. May we be humbled by the power of God’s Creation and may we protect it with all our might. Amen.