Family Liturgies

Psalm 121: A Life-Giving Wall

by Joe Greemore

Reading: Psalm 121:1-8
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

img_7080Building a wall is debatable work. A good home depends on solid walls, but communication may suffer if we erect too many. Fences keep children safe, yet some of the most child-friendly neighborhoods I’ve seen are those whose yards are without borders. Four walls can represent either confidentiality or confinement. The suggestion of building a wall along the southern border of our nation and making our neighbors pay for it strikes me as a post-modern resuscitation of the Berlin wall while scripture speaks of a Christ whose love breaks down dividing walls of hostility to restore true community where it has been broken (Ephesians 2:14). Walls can be good or bad, helpful or harmful, life-giving or painfully destructive, depending on their function. The Psalmist speaks speaks of a place of live-giving hope in Psalm 121 using words like ‘help,’ ‘keep,’ ‘shade,’ and ‘life,’ words that speak of God’s providential protection and security. “The Hebrew word used in Psalm 121 for ‘keep’ means to be watched, to be guarded, to have a hedge around you. It is having a wall around you that is impenetrable. God will keep us,” and no force of darkness can penetrate that wall [Greg Laurie]. It’s more than a little refreshing to know that regardless, and sometimes in spite of, the walls around us, we can find help and hope for humanity in God to “keep our going out and our coming in from this time on and forevermore.”

Spiritual Practice
Read Psalm 121 together as a family. Share a powerful symbol of community and security with your family by holding hands in a circle and facing inward towards one another. Share verse 8 with each other by way of blessing, saying: “The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.” Each person then turn around and face outward, grasping hands again and sharing with the world those same words of assurance: “The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.” Remind each other from time to time about God’s promise of protection at all times.

Loving God, thank you for your protection, no matter what. Bless this family, and keep your children near to your heart, that we may feel your love and share it freely with everyone. Amen.




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