I am wrapping up my annual trip with a group of friends, brothers, and colleagues with whom I have been meeting for the last twenty years. We graduated seminary together and have met together nearly every year since (2020 an exception of course). This year, we gathered at a house at Lake Chelan, Washington. The lake is settled in this beautiful valley with hills and mountains all around. The water is a deep blue and is apparently incredibly clear when you are on the water looking down into the depth of the third deepest lake in the United States.
When I was out on a walk while listening to Psalm 3 (I suggest reading the Psalm and/or listening to the song as it would help the follow what I share below) on our last morning, I received this beautiful moment of the sun rising over the lake and some of the mountains that surrounded. I initially was reflecting on how a place like this would be a place of safety with the hills surrounding. But as I looked down below and saw the house we were staying in, I remember the brothers with whom I had gathered these last few days and a different type of surrounding.
When we gather each year, each guy has an hour-ish sharing time about whatever we need to lift to one another – joys, celebrations, challenges, struggles, blessings, hopes, questions, etc – and when the sharing time is done, we literally surround him, lay hands on him, and pray for him and for what was shared. There’s a literal surrounding in love, support, and care. In those hands laid upon one another, we are experiencing this Psalm – the shield of God, the God who hears our cries, the God who is there for us even when it feels like 10,000 are coming against us.
I am so grateful for these brothers who have been there for me and how we have been there for one another through the many things that life has brought over the last 20+ years.
As I write this, I also recognize that this is an unusual gift that I have and I pray that you have someone(s) in your life with whom you can go with anything and from whom you can feel the God sung of in Psalm 3. We all need that person, those people, those hands to surround us.
you oh lord are a shield around mePsalm 3 – Poor Bishop Hooper
you oh lord are my only glory
i cried out and you heard my story
and you answered and you answered
i slept in fear but i woke in safety
for you oh lord are always watching over me
though ten thousand though ten thousand stand against me
you answered oh you answered
salvation belongs to only you god
arise oh lord arise oh lord