"Living in the Most High's shelter, camping in the Almighty's shade, I say to the Lord, "You are my refuge, my stronghold! You are my God—the one I trust." - Psalm 91:1-2
On a recent trip to my hometown in Texas my wife and I were driving through my favorite neighborhood, looking at the colorful and unique homes that line the streets that largely bear the names of American presidents from long ago. After a few blocks, a pattern emerged in a neighborhood characterized by architectural diversity. An inordinate amount of homes had signs in their front yards that proclaimed "This is Psalm 91 Territory."
I'm not a memorizer of the Bible so I had to look it up. At first glance, it looks like the perfect psalm to paint on a sign and stick in your front yard. It's all about "God's protection," and many folks who live in nice homes in nice neighborhoods probably think "break-in" when they think of the need for God's protection. As someone whose home was robbed a few years ago, I have to admit that the thought has also crossed my mind that I would appreciate God patrolling my home day and night in order to lend a helping hand to my alarm system.
And yet, I was turned off by those signs, mainly because I dislike the word "territory." I felt like I was in the middle of an old battlefield that had been fought in the name of those past presidents. The word "territory" feels like "I have been victorious, this is my land, so keep off." I would have preferred to see signs that read, "This is a Psalm 91 home … and ya'll are welcome here." But maybe we're not ready for that yet.
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And may our neighbors always feel safe. Amen.
Jimmy R. Watson is the Pastor of St. Andrew United Church of Christ, Louisville, Kentucky.