“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27: 1
Shortly after the election last fall my wife and I traveled to Atlanta. There we visited Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. had preached. We sat alone in the sanctuary and listened to King’s words crackle over the sound system. Later, we visited Atlanta’s Civil Rights Museum and relived the stories, from Freedom Rides to The March on Washington.
The next evening friends took us to the Atlanta Music Festival, which was birthed by Atlanta’s First Congregational Church when blacks were barred from attending the opera in Atlanta. The concert featured several choirs, including the Glee Club of Morehouse College. They sang, “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord.” It was a tonic for my soul, a balm for my heart.
The music reminded me, and all of us there, of the great truths and the living tradition of faith in which our souls may find an anchor and stay in times of trouble.
So too, Psalm 27 is an expression of unshakeable confidence and trust — of a soul deeply anchored in the Lord — despite the reality of threat and peril all around.
As I write I do not know how today’s inauguration will go or has gone. I do not know if hope has been stirred or fear inflamed, healing proffered or division deepened.
But I know this: for the living of these days our souls shall need to be anchored, anchored in a deep, steady and strong faith. We shall need to find our way to join the Psalmist in declaring boldly, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”
As the concert began that evening all the choirs, musicians and audience rose to sing James Weldon Johnson’s hymn, “Life Every Voice and Sing.” The final verse is this:
“God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee
Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand
True to our God, true to our native land.”
In place of ending with another prayer, I invite you to pray (or sing) Johnson’s words. I invite you to drop your anchor down deep into God and to join the Psalmist in declaring, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” and to go forth in that faith this day.
Tony 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. You can read Tony’s “Weekly Meditation” and “What’s Tony Thinking?” at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.