We Shall Not be Moved

September 16, 2012

Excerpt from Psalm 15

"Those who do these things shall never be moved."

Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson

One of things I value about the place I live, Seattle, is its world-wide and global orientation. Perched on the edge of the nation, we are oriented to Asia and the Pacific as much as, perhaps more than, the East Coast of the U.S. And there are all kinds of exciting "global initiatives" based here in Seattle. And we travel a lot. People are always heading to exotic locations, or reporting on students studying in Tibet, Timbuktu or Turkmenistan.

So it strikes an odd note to read, at the conclusion of Psalm 15, that the sign of a virtuous life is that such a person shall "Never be moved." After listing a host of things that characterize the life of a virtuous person - "speaking truth from the heart," "not slandering with the tongue," "standing by their oath even to their hurt," - the Psalmist says that such a person "Shall never be moved."

I understand that this is metaphorical, not literal. I know, too, that travel can broaden our horizons. But still I wonder. How is it that we have come to so highly value travel, its adventure, mobility and going and being elsewhere? And how is that we seem to place so much less value on stability, being rooted in a place and committed to particular other people there?

"What we most need," writes the author of The Wisdom of Stability, is "A way of life founded on solid ground, freeing us from the illusion that we can live without limits." Perhaps it is not just a good life that leads to a well grounded person, but ground - place and stability - that shape a good life?

Prayer

In the midst of a mobile culture, teach us O Lord the wisdom of stability, and grant us the grace to invest ourselves where we are. Amen.

About the Author
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of the just-published Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com by clicking on Weekly Reading.

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