URC Daily Devotion 17th October 2021

Sunday October 17, 2021
 
Psalm 64
 
Hear us, O Lord, as 
we voice our laments;
help the oppressed and
be their sure defense;
Guard them from plots of
scheming enemies;
be a strong refuge for all refugees.

Heal those who have been
pierced by wicked lies;
shield them from evil
lurking in disguise,
And from oppressors
thinking “No one sees.
”be a strong refuge for all refugees.

Undo the plans that
wicked one devise;
let all their scheming
bring their own demise;
Then with great fear
all peoples will agree:
God is a refuge for all refugees.

David Landegent © 2010
You can hear the tune suggested, Langran, here
https://bit.ly/3xh8AOX

Reflection

Refugees are those in need of refuge.  This paraphrase of the ancient Psalm has been turned into a prayer for refugees, with powerful contemporary resonances for us.  The reasons people flee from their own country and seek safety elsewhere are many. Economic, political, and religious factors along with war, drought and famine compound peoples’ distress.  When vulnerable people are deceived into handing over large sums of money to criminal gangs for transport to safety, their situation becomes desperate.  The refugee’s plight today presents a huge practical and moral challenge for governments, NGOs and organised religion. 

The Psalmist gives voice to those who are oppressed by ‘plots of scheming enemies’.  For refugees this can include criminals who exploit them, those who try to evade moral responsibility for the outcomes of war, failures to live up to promises of assistance, and the reduction of aid programmes by the rich, well developed countries. This lament is poured out to God, in the expectation that in their defence  plots which harm will be exposed and nullified. 

The intense stress of uprooting has a damaging effect, and the Psalmist is aware of the need of oppressed people for healing; for ‘pierced by wicked lies’ and enemies.  who think that ‘no one sees’, they need shielding. We, in these pandemic days, have learned about the need for shielding vulnerable people for their survival.

The final verse reminds me of the advice of Proverbs 22 ‘Do not rob the poor because they are poor… for the LORD pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them’. That’s the plea of the Psalmist here, that God ensures that justice prevails. Those who scheme profit at the expense of the refugee will be hoist with their own petard. Thus all shall understand God as the refugee’s protector.

Prayer

Gracious God
when we are tempted to do nothing
in the face of crisis after crisis
in the lives of refugee people, 
remind us that Jesus himself 
became a refugee from oppression.
Let us hear your call to help refugees
in ways available to us, campaigning, 
giving money, providing shelter 
for our brothers and sisters
made in your image. Amen.

 

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d John A Young retired minister National Synod of Scotland, member Giffnock URC

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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