In the movie, Bridge of Spies, each time Tom Hanks (the lawyer) asked his client, (the Russian spy) for different reasons whether he was distressed or afraid, he replied very calmly, “Would it help?” He had obviously reached a place of equanimity about the possible consequences of his actions and the life he had lived. I have thought about that response and was reminded of it again by the first line from this morning’s reading of Psalm 27. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?”
Obviously those two questions result from vastly different lifestyle choices. The spy was totally close-mouthed about his motivations, but there were intimations in the film indicating that his life was not all violence and intrigue. Perhaps (and here I cringe at the possibility of reactions…) he was a man doing his job as he saw it in service to his country during the Cold War. Whatever his beliefs, he was resigned to his fate. The psalmist, on the contrary, is all about hope in God and in the possibility of living more and more deeply into God’s light for eternity.
There are many reasons to fear in the world of today and the tensions all around us can cause us to give in to distress. I am thinking that a good morning practice might be the recitation of Psalm 27. Waking up to these words might give us a head start on the day. Try it; you might like it!
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid? One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate his temple.