Excerpt from Psalm 127
“…like arrows in the hands of a warrior, the person who fills a quiver with them is truly happy.”
Reflection by William C. Green
The arrows in the hands of warriors today are infinitely more powerful and accurate than their equivalents of old. “Quivers” full of them fill many civilians with a sense of safety and security. Less so those in combat. They know they are as vulnerable as their earliest counterparts. Veterans we honor today made themselves vulnerable. They confirm what civilians, including our leaders, often forget under political pressure. More often than not, weapons and the most righteous wars miss the target—and end up targeting us instead if not the whole world, given nuclear capacities. Innocents on all sides die in the wake.
When the Psalmist speaks of arrows the thought is not only of the military. That’s drawn on to express how the joy of a newborn child can penetrate our hearts. This is close to the thought of the current “Playing for Change” team: an international musical collaboration that travels the globe connecting street artists all performing together different parts of the same song from localities far apart. Hearts are penetrated and changed. PBS produced an award-winning documentary on how this happens.
How many “arrows” penetrate our hearts and minds? The challenge we face may be less giving up than receiving others—just as “Playing for Change”—or any good local choir—features other strong voices, not just one; just as military service can recognize other ways, too, to patriotism and peace; just as the joy of a newborn child must grow to include more than the delight of infancy—just as giving to the church contributes to my happiness as well. It’s not a matter of one of these or the other. It’s both, and more.
Penetrate our hearts with your many arrows of love and peace, O God. Fill us with your all-encompassing Spirit. Amen.
Click to order Hark! Advent Devotionals 2012 from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group.