“Indeed, over all the glory there will be a canopy. It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.” (Isaiah 4:5b-6)
One big theme in the Bible that may be easy for us to miss is, for lack of a better term, “home.” Land, shelter, and a place where the body and soul may be at peace and in safety: that is what people are seeking from God for much of the Old Testament in particular. Today we get this image of God spreading a canopy, a shelter, around God’s own presence (“glory”) to protect the “survivors of Israel.”
I imagine this was a pretty powerful image for people who had experienced destruction, deportation, and chaos on the scale that Israel had in this period. But as someone who has passed his life so far in relatively peace and safety, I have to work a little to get this.
So today let’s ask ourselves: What does shelter mean to us? Perhaps we have needed literal, physical shelter at some point in our lives. Perhaps we know the risk of being close to losing that shelter. If we’ve even been close to those situations, whether as a friend, a family member, or even a volunteer, we may know something of that fear and need.
But we may seek “shelter” in a more spiritual way, too. What makes us feel vulnerable or at risk? What, if anything, has ever brought us a sense of earthly, ordinary peace? A feeling of being “at home” wherever we may be in the world? Spend some time with those feelings today. And don’t be afraid to pray for them: security, shelter, protection, being at home; both for yourself and for everyone who needs them.
Pray: for the homeless, those who seek to help them, for all who live with exposure to severe weather, for a godly peace and security in our own lives, for the welcome of our church to be extended to all who seek that peace and security with us.
Our Father, who art in heaven...
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Pastor Ben Dueholm