Monday, May 9, 2011

All we are like Linus . . .

Where do you find your security? It is a question which resonates through the ages. At times, it was gathering within city walls. At other times it was within castles or keeps. At still other times, it was through force of arms. Today, it may seem very different, but the question of security bothers us every bit as it did the psalmist. Over the course of the past week, I have heard hysterical stories and noticed lots of attempts to increase security around us. Heck, even at church, Scott Shovar added some significant plating to the door on the shed to thwart the obvious efforts to break in out there. And we as church members have wondered “Should we lock our doors during worship or just during the week?” to cut down on the incidents of theft. Nationally, of course, we have had to deal with the increased threat to security posed by the killing of bin Laden. If I had a dime for every time ADT or some other outfit called with the line “we were going to be in your area installing security systems and wondered if we might protect you?” I would have a pretty good savings account. I would also have a heck of a lot more neighbors! We can even go to WalMart and buy “security cameras” which do not connect to anything to try that help convince would-be-thieves that our houses are secure. Where do you find your security?

The answer to the question, of course, gives us an idea of our spiritual health. There is no doubt that burglaries can unsettle us. Acts of terrorism or natural disasters, either domestically or internationally, can likewise destabilize society (think of the Fed’s response to 9-11 or Japan’s Fed’s response to the earthquake/tsunami). Even localized events, such as the death of a loved one, can cause us all kinds of angst. The world likes to give us the illusion that we can be the captains of our own ships, the masters of our own domains, but over and over again we discover that such a siren song is illusionary. All it takes is one intentional evil act or an unexpected disaster to remind us just how insecure we really are.

Our psalm this week, however, reminds us that God has assigned our portion and our cup and made us secure. Like everyone else who lives in the world with us, bad things can happen to us. You and I are faced with insecurities every day. Where will my next job come from? How will I keep my house? What if I get sick and lose my job and my family’s insurance? What if my company gets bought out or goes out of business? What if my plane is blown out of the sky? What if a tornado takes my family? What if my daughter or good friend discerns a call to mission in East Africa and is taken from us by an act of terrorism? What if people think I’m a religious freak for mentioning my faith as we talk about these fears at the coffee room or the water cooler? We share the same concerns as those around us.

The big difference, of course, is our response to those insecurities and vagaries and destabilizations. As a result of the Resurrection which we just celebrated and through the empowerment of the feast of Pentecost which we will celebrate in a few weeks time, you and I are commissioned and encouraged to seek Him and find where He has led the way, even if we stand at death’s door. You see, brothers and sisters, joy and peace are to be found only in His arms. We were created to rest in full communion with Him, to enjoy a delightful inheritance bestowed upon us by Him. And He makes that joy and inheritance possible. His victory over death reminds each one of us that nothing can hold sway over our lives for very long. True, the vagaries of life can be painful and seem extended oftentimes, but the truth is that they are only temporary. Only He and His gifts are eternal.

Where do you find your security? Brothers and sisters, if you think you are finding it in your own efforts or those of other human beings, you are too much concerned with things and circumstances and not enough with your Lord! Psalm 16 reminds us that when those security devices and efforts eventually fail (and the psalmist knows they invariably will), He still remains! He still protects! He still lifts up! Better still, unlike those who trust in themselves and their own strength and ingenuity, we can face the vagaries of life, and even death itself, certain in the knowledge that He will redeem us, just as He did our Lord. That, brothers and sisters, is a glorious inheritance. That, brothers and sisters, is a portion and cup worth sharing with others!



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