Devotion: Our Dwelling Place
October 13, 2020
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
From everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn us back to dust and say,
“Turn back, you mortals.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or are like a watch in the night.
You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning;
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers…
Well, there is nothing like these verses to give us a little dose of reality, maybe a little perspective on things. These are not words that play well in our culture, where talk of death is avoided and where we are barraged by ads that try to seduce us into believing that things will save our lives. As a matter of fact, some might diagnose the writer of this Psalm as being depressed or if not, certainly very gloomy. Many of us rather not consider how temporary our lives are. Yet this Psalm firmly roots us within the broad scope of God’s creation in which our physical bodies are subject to the same rules as life and death as the rest of the world around us. There is no exception to this truth.
But there is something beyond our life in the temporary. If you look to the first verse of the Psalm – “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations” – you will hear that we are part of the eternity of God. The earth is not our dwelling place, the Lord is, who has been and will be from everlasting to everlasting. This Psalm is one of faith looking at the reality of our lives here on earth fully in the face. Those who handle the process of aging well, understand that it is not an exception to life but a part of life. They are not surprised by it nor do they think God is punishing them because their body is doing what it naturally does in this imperfect world as it gets older. This is not fatalism, but reality and they are able to face reality because their trust is rooted in what is eternal. When we truly embrace God in our lives, then we already know God as our dwelling place in the here and now, as well as in the future, and we are not afraid.
But, P.S., if you are afraid, that is part of being human too. You are saved by God’s grace and nothing else so do not be afraid of being afraid.
Prayer: “O God, you are our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home.”  We give you thanks for your abundant grace and love and pray for your peace. Amen.
Devotion provided by Rev. Susan Roddey, Director of Spiritual Life at Abernethy Laurels
 O God, Our Help in Ages Past. Written by Isaac Watts, 1719