Commentary on Psalm 121
To you, my siblings in Christ,
As we enter into the second week of Lent, and Christians around the world take special time for reflection and repentance, I invite you to reflect on Psalm 121. The first verse tells us that the psalmist is traveling, or at least not in his home. As a seminarian serving a Latinx community, it is almost impossible to not connect the psalm with our journey as an immigrant community. The Psalm also provides an opportunity to remind others of the times in our lives when ALL of us have “migrated” from situations or places. The most common example is when we migrate from our parents’ home to our own home. We leave our home of origin facing fear, not knowing what our future is going to be, or how we are going to handle our new responsibility.
Now, imagine being 14 years old and needing to escape from the gangs who violently insist that you join them. Imagine walking through countries where the heat of the sun cannot be minimized by any sunblock; where every step is like walking on thin ice and filled with the fear of stepping in an unknown creature’s den; where sleeping might result in being robbed, sexually abused or killed; where darkness awakens the instincts of night predators. In the midst of all this constant danger, you know that it is the Lord who comes to help you; can you imagine such great comfort as a warm blanket on a cold night?
This psalm represents a prayer to many immigrants who had to wander into a spiritual and physical wilderness where there is no option other than to hold on to our faith in the promise that God will provide protection.
We find comfort in the promise that God will hold our hand, much like we hold the hand of a baby taking his or her first steps. God is walking with us in the scary darkness and brings light to our feet to make us aware and protected from any danger. God lets us decide where our next step is heading, with the confidence that God will not let us slip. We do not stay in one place, but God travels with us. God offers to accompany us, and we find God’s love on our path in the kindness of those who offer water when we are thirsty and food when we are hungry.
To you my siblings in Christ:
As we walk this beautiful earth, I pray that you feel God’s protection and remember that God’s promises remain with us when we leave our home country or simply change our zip code. As God reveals God’s self through others, remember that the Lord is watching over us to protect us. God’s love and protection does not take breaks; God’s love and protection does not prefer one nation to another nation; it is not bound by borders or language. God’s love and protection is for all, all the time and in every place. Amen.
Seminarian Ana Becerra, Mission Developer
Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey, St. Paul, Minnesota