Day 2 of Advent Readings from the Daily Office Isaiah 1:10-20 Psalm 1 Psalm 2 Psalm 3 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Luke 20:1-8 "a shield about me" In Psalm 3, we hear the cry of one who has "many adversaries," but who also turns to the Lord, who abides in the Lord. The Lord is a shield around the psalmist, though surrounded by many adversaries. The collect in the service of Eucharist for the first Sunday in Advent Sunday had that wonderful line, "cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light," and here, today, in Psalm 3 we hear of the shield that the Lord provides. Who are these adversaries? Are they real, or metaphorical? Are they under the powers of "darkness" or are they psychological projections from within us? For those of us living rather comfortable lives, the notion that there are "many adversaries" surrounding us may move us to consider the metaphorical, or psychological aspects of this Psalm. However, there are many in the world who live in the midst of enemies, and as we journey on the way of Christ, we may find ourselves doing ministry and presence among adversaries. As we journey along the adventure of following Jesus, it is likely that we will be standing among those who are encountering injustice, oppression, and even the threat of death. Even if we don't find ourselves there, we will find ourselves encountering adversaries in our lives, adversaries that may lead us to forget our ethical principles, adversaries that may move us off our moorings. Where will we turn in these moments? The collect advises us to "cast away the works of darkness"...and "put on the armor of light." And the psalmist prays with audacious hope:
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me; *
you are my glory, the one who lifts up my head.
We hope, not because our surroundings give us signs that things will get better. Rather, we pray and live with audacious, courageous, and stupendous hope that comes from God, that comes through our faith in things that we can't quite grasp. God provides for us, even when we are walking though the darkness, even when we are surrounded by adversaries of various stripes. God provides a shield for us, God provides an armor of light. God, in Christ, provides for us - and we are to live audacious, courageous and stupendous lives because of it.
So, put on your armor of light, consider the shield that the Lord provides.