The Minnesota History Center in St Paul, MN, has an exhibit called, "Weather Permitting." One of the most powerful experiences is a little room set up to look like a basement. In this basement, you experience the sights and sounds of a tornado touching down overhead. The experience is chilling and frightening. It's a tiny glimpse into the terror so many have felt when storms have threatened their homes and their lives. But in this tiny basement, as the storm finally passes, there is a sense of refuge -- that lives have been saved because of this little space built for just that.
It makes me think of a little space I created for refuge from the storms that threaten my life. Through guided imagery, I have actually created a space inside myself where no one has ever been -- except God, of course. My shelter is a large, grassy field beside a warm brook. The stream flows around a tiny island with a giant tree I can lean against and dip my toes in the warm water. There is a cabin that looks like a giant horse (don't judge me -- I was six when I created it). Any time I want, I can meditate and go to my quiet refuge. I swing on the swing that hangs on long ropes from a giant tree in the field. And I can talk to God there. I will not share what God looks like in my safe place -- your imagery for God is for you to decide. But I can process my day, ask tough questions, and even challenge what God is telling me. This place has been my refuge my whole life. But it's always changing, as I change and grow. It's important to have a place where you can seek refuge and talk to God. Where do you go?
Narrative Lectionary Text: Psalm 34
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.
O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
for those who fear him have no want.
The young lions suffer want and hunger,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Which of you desires life,
and covets many days to enjoy good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
not one of them will be broken.
Evil brings death to the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.