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 We could all use some help.  I was with my two grandsons for a modified joint birthday party last weekend.  “Modified” means shortened and altered because of the pandemic.  Connor is one and Henry is going on three.  Whenever I am in a home with small children I am reminded of the huge responsibility of parenthood.  You can’t take your eyes off them.  You have to care for them.  They need regular diaper changes and feeding.  You have to love them too, unconditionally. 

Things are different for us in 2020.  We are living in a different way.  Working from home.  Dealing with isolation.  Unable to do certain things that formerly were part of our routine.  We have to wear face masks and learn how to see if someone is smiling without seeing their mouth.  We go to church on our computers.  Kids can’t go to school.  There is grave loneliness out there, and fear. 

Well, Psalm 61 came up this morning and I am pretty sure we all need to hear it.  This Psalm talks about the rock that is higher.  Lead me to the rock     that is higher than I; for you are my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

Set me atop a rock, Lord.  From the top of the rock, you get a much better view of your surroundings.  Perspective always helps.  Especially helpful is the perspective God gives us to see.  God lets us see the world as he sees it.  The world has tried to leave him behind.  The world is filled with sin needing forgiveness.  God’s heart melts in love when he sees suffering.

The rock is strong.  You can’t damage a rock with your bare hand.  It is impervious to weather.  It is, well, it is rock solid.

Atop the rock we are lifted up.  We are in the presence of God.  He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Atop the rock we find mercy.  God gives us dignity, bringing us into his home as his children.  God schools us in goodness, righteousness and holiness.

Finally, atop the rock we see others in need of being lifted up.  We get a dose of God’s compassionate heart and look for ways to help.  We beckon others to join us on the rock that is higher.

Here is more of the Psalm:

Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth I call to you,
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I;
3 for you are my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.
4 Let me abide in your tent forever,
    find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
5 For you, O God, have heard my vows;
    you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Don’t you love it that God has given you a heritage?  You may be say, “I am Irish-American.”  You may be a graduate of Rider.  You may have the last name of Smith or Jones.  That is part of your heritage.  But not the most important part.  Your heritage is belonging with those who fear the name of God.  Our heritage is being part of the church – on earth and in eternity.  It is filled with saints.  Saints just like you.

Let us pray, “Heavenly Father, lead us to the rock that is higher than we are.  Elevate us to you.  Help us not to be afraid of you but to draw near your throne of grace.  Help us day by day to walk with Jesus.  And help us to show others the way to the rock that is higher.  We ask in his name.  Amen.”