I received many messages over the past two weeks, mostly around the days of my going to and coming back from vacation. The majority of them encouraged me to be safe, stay safe or wished me safe travels. I presume that when we use those terms we’re speaking generally about our method of travel, although unless we’re driving a car we have little control – of the safety of the train, boat or plane. We have to fall back on the virtue of trust that I spoke about recently. Maybe people just want us to watch out for places where we might fall – like stepping off a curb that we misjudge.
Dictionary definitions for the adjective safe suggest that we will be uninjured with no harm done, or that we are protected from or not exposed to danger or risk. That last goes against what a growing population of sports people consider the best activities: “extreme sports” – and one might wonder if the resultant exhilaration is worth the risk.
The point of all this? Today’s psalm response in the lectionary. The refrain calls out: Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope! This line resonated inside me as a warm feeling which led to all the meanderings above. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that even if something disastrous had befallen me over the past two weeks, I would still know safety if I am rooted in God. I recognize that as a great grace and wonder if I am sounding a bit naïve. I don’t think so. I don’t mean to say that I would not be disturbed at some serious and negative turn of events or that I do not mourn losses – particularly of beloved persons. What I will continue to ponder today is my relationship with God vis-à-vis my response to situations. Can anything separate me from the love of God? What can shake my hope, my trust? What about you?