Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:8)
These words come at the end of our Old Testament passage for this weekend. While Christ is giving us a very stern reminder about the life of faith, the lectionary offers us this passage as a different kind of reminder.
The full passage speaks of being protected from enemies – something that happened quite often for the people of Israel. It speaks of how our life is a gift because God is with us. God is an ever-present help.
The place you may have heard the verse above is probably not where you are thinking about. It is at times when we come to church seeking comfort and sustenance, filled with sighs too deep for words. The place you have likely heard these words before is at a funeral.
One of the options, that many of us use when planning these services, is to forgo a traditional call to worship and instead to use several “sentences of scripture” – snippets and snapshots of our faith that come through specific verses from the sacred text. These have been chosen carefully by wise liturgy scholars who ensure that we do not take anything out of context by using only one or two verses. But what I have found is that at times of deepest stress, sometimes all we can do is to hold onto those short, sweet, strong promises of God. We need them. They keep us going until our faith is in a place where we can once again seek after complicated questions again.
Even when we are not in a time of stress or distress, these words hold an essential reminder for us: we are never alone. God is always with us, providing aid and assistance in everything we go through. Now, it may not always look like the help that we think we want, but God is always there walking with us and giving us some sort of help that we need. Sometimes that is simply presence and sometimes it is something more.
So, whatever you may be facing today, may this verse be a reminder for you that God is already working in everything that is happening. God will bring you to the far-side of every storm with grace and give you peace. And no matter what may come or wherever you may find yourself – God will never, ever leave your side.