"in the shadow of your wings"

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of thy house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light. (Ps 36.7-9)

The spiritual disciplines were discussed after church Sunday. I'm not a big believer in the power of spiritual disciplines; I've written about them before. But I have been interested in meditation in the past, and I'm still drawn to contemplative spirituality, the prayer of quiet listening and directing our attention and love towards God. The lines above are favorites in contemplative writing.

I've been reminded of my contemplative side recently, mostly because of the stresses and uncertainties we're facing right now. Going into the winter with no solid retreat plans (though I've been trying hard—so much depends on the response of other people, very busy people). Our money from Heather's grandparents running out soon, and our expected income unclear for the months ahead. And the retreat work probably has to get going (which will take a while) before we can expect outside financial support. Plus the challenges of community life around here now. It has made me want to find a safe place to hide.

I really like the image used in the psalm: "The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings." The phrase "in the shadow of your wings" is used a number of times in the Psalms; I quoted another instance a couple days ago. A favorite image for David, I guess. I like how it describes a place of safety that is not a physical location but a refuge "in God." A safe place that is always available to us, wherever we are, a place to hide "till the storms of destruction pass by."

This describes a place of spiritual quiet, a movement of the soul, stepping back from the distractions and demands and threats that bombard our senses, seeking a place of inner quiet to hear what is really happening and what God offers in this moment. A place "in the shadow of your wings." Where we find what we need, and also find some light to offer to others.