On Mondays through the summer, I will be running a series of devotionals based on the stained glass windows at Covenant-First Presbyterian. These devotionals originally ran in the Covenant Courier newsletter, and we are editing them for re-issue as a devotional later this summer. All the photos are by our member, nature photographer Jerry Fritsch. We invite you to come by the sanctuary and see the windows in person.
This window, depicting David as a shepherd, is an interesting contrast to our window depicting David as a writer. In the writer window, David stands tall and confident in the inspiration he receives from the Lord. This window, however, shows David on a knee in supplication. His sheep doze gently beside him, secure in his guardianship.
The superscription above the window quotes Psalm 121, one of the songs of ascent. These were songs that were collected as pilgrim songs, to be sung on the journey to Jerusalem for the great feasts of Israel. The Psalm begins with “I lift up my eyes to the hills,” referring to the hills through which the pilgrims would travel – hills that could easily conceal bands of marauders. These hills might also have hidden the forbidden high places where some Israelites went up to worship the old pagan gods. The hills were foreboding places of danger.
David, on his knee, gives us the picture of one who faces danger. He is one who is confronted with the uncertainty of the wilderness, not knowing from whence that danger will come. He seeks the protection of the Lord.
And the Lord responds. In this window, that response is in the clear image of the hand of the Lord coming down in answer to David’s prayer. I find the image of that hand to be one of the most fascinating visual images in the sanctuary. For some reason, it gives me great comfort to be reassured of God’s hand of providence extending in answer to earnest prayer. Just as the sheep rest easy in David’s protection, so can David rest easy in the Lord’s protection. Just as the pilgrims en route to Jerusalem rest easy in the Lord’s protection, so also can we rest easy.
We all are pilgrims in this world. Though we may be settled in one place for our whole lives, we are still pilgrims. We still face a world of danger and uncertainty. We all have times in which we cry out “from whence shall my help come?”
May the confidence of the Psalm be our confidence – that our help comes from the Lord who neither slumbers nor sleeps. Though we might not see a visible hand of the Lord, may we have the clarity of sight to perceive the effects of the hand of the Lord in our lives. May we be sensitive to discerning God’s providence, even in times of fear and anxiety. May we rest easy knowing that the Lord is our shepherd.