Psalm 121

When I first saw her, I thought she was dead. I had gone into the Intensive Care Unit to see an old and very dear friend. She lay broken and immobile before me. This woman of wit, wisdom, and motion had been felled by a massive stroke. I prayed for her, blessed her, anointed her, and finished my rounds. That night I read Psalm 121.

I will lift up mine eyes onto the hills:
from whence cometh my help?
My help cometh even from the Lord,
who hath made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved,
and he that keepeth thee will not sleep.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel
shall neither slumber nor sleep.
the Lord himself is thy keeper;
the Lord is thy defense upon thy right hand;
So that the sun shall not burn thee by day,
neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil;
yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and thy coming in,
from this time forth for evermore. (BCP p.473)

The psalm begins with a lament and ends with a blessing and affirmation. You and I are assured that God rules. Our life is not insignificant. It has value. In the last analysis we can rest in His presence and find safety in His sight. It was into His presence and sight that I entrusted my dear friend that night.

Upon subsequent visits I was amazed to find her gradually recovering. I told her about a parishioner who was in maternity. The next day, my friend haltingly asked if the lady had had the baby. “Yes,” I replied, “She had a girl.” My friend then held her arm high and poked her fist at me. “Here,” she said. “Give this to the baby.” I held out the palm of my hand, and she opened her fist into my hand. “This is the moon,” she said. “The moon?” I asked. My friend with tears in her eyes replied, “When I woke up early in the morning, I saw the moon. And I plucked the moon for the baby.” I kissed my friend on the forehead, and with tightly closed fist, I went down to the nursery and gave the moon to the baby.

At dinner my wife asked, “What did you do today?”

“Oh, not much,” I replied. “I gave a baby the moon.” Amen.