Refuge, Not Retreat
“In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: Flee like a bird to your mountain … When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” – Psalm 11:1, 3
Almost daily now, our sensitivities and sensibilities are being assaulted with cascading reports of gun violence and human massacre, here and abroad.
We should keep in mind that terrorism is not just designed to inflict bodily harm but psychological intimidation as well. It is designed to cause us to shrink in the face of fear and to retreat into enclaves of tribalism (“Us against them”), isolationism (“I’ve got mine, you get yours”) and nationalism (“Let’s build a wall”).
When the foundations are being destroyed, God offers us a refuge, not a retreat. It’s a refuge that shelters us from despair and protects us with the faith that no matter how awful the human toll, God’s truth still marches on.
How else can we explain the Civil Rights workers of the 1960’s marching into the jaws of vicious racism in the South singing “We Shall Overcome”?
How else can we explain why, in the aftermath of the massacre in Orlando, thousands still gather in cities across America to celebrate Gay Pride?
How else can we explain why protesters and police marched together in Dallas to call attention to Black Lives Matter; and why protesters and police mourned the lives of the police who were assassinated; and why protesters and police vowed together that those fallen officers did not die in vain?
This is not the time to retreat into the confines of class and clan. This is the time to reach across every barrier that separates us and find refuge in the quest for justice that makes us all one.
God, in these troubling times, we thank you for being the refuge that keeps moving us beyond retreat.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.