Photo by Chi Pham on Unsplash

“The Lord is the stronghold of my life”—a meditation on Psalm 27 amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley

March 27, 2020

The darkness of fear weighs down upon us like a pall covering every social interaction, every report of more infections and deaths. My family and I live near the Jersey shore where several lighthouses still stand, sentinels from another era when, without GPS, ships plied the tumultuous waters of the Atlantic. Their light offered to anxious sailors a sure bearing and the promise of safe passage.

The coronavirus pandemic has shut down so many of the markers by which we navigate our lives—the routine of daily work and Sunday worship; a stock market that moves ever upward; hopping in our cars or on a train, ship or plane to go wherever we choose; outings to our favorite restaurants; hitting the stadium, ballpark or arena for a game; high school proms and college graduation ceremonies; family gatherings or hanging with friends; even our confidence in modern medicine to quickly offer a wonder drug or vaccine to subdue this pestilence. All these have been taken from us. Not since the AIDS epidemic has a silent, secretive killer threatened us like this and disrupted our sense of safety and invulnerability.

Though far removed from us in time, a shepherd boy destined to be king, struggled with fears as terrible as our own while he hid from the peril of death at the hands of Saul’s soldiers. Perhaps it was in the darkness of a cave where he had fled, breathless with fear as armed men closed in upon him, that Psalm 27 began to form in his heart, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Even as we shelter in place, I work my garden and flower beds, sowing seeds as an act of hope and faith.

When all other means of navigating our daily lives succumb to the onslaught of COVID-19, this is our one sure, true bearing, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; the Lord is the stronghold of my life.” May the light of Christ fill you with his radiance and safeguard the hope we have in him. May the light of Christ shine upon your way and guide you in the path of compassion and love for all who suffer. May the light of Christ illumine your heart and grant you peace.

Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley is general secretary emeritus, American Baptist Churches USA. Used by permission of National Council of Churches USA.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Baptist Home Mission Societies.

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