A place of refuge
A Clever Verse for Context
“You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge (kataphuge) and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’” (Psalm 91:1-2, Greek as in the Septuagint)
When it comes to false gods, aka idols, we humans have a tendency to worship safety. We want to be secure: physically and financially, and we want the same thing for our families. For the sake of safety we isolate ourselves as individuals and communities, distancing ourselves from our neighbors and our God. Jesus, on the other hand, lives a life fraught with danger: sailing through storms, touching humans known to have contagious diseases, and walking into a city where he knows many want to kill him. Being a disciple, a follower of Jesus, is pretty much the opposite of being safe. There is a reason we confess “God is our refuge (kataphuge)." It is not in strength, might, solid walls, or locked doors that we find safety, but in God’s faithfulness. Whatever me may face as disciples, God is faithful and will not abandon us, no matter what dangers overwhelm us.
The Greek historian Herodotus (5th cent. BCE) recounts a conversation between the Persian king Xerxes and his relative Artabanus, in which the latter declares that “death is the most welcome refuge (kataphuge) for humans, since life is so wretched” (see Herodotus’ Histories, 7.46).
Clever Questions for Further Reflection
What makes you feel safe or where do you feel safe?
How do you carry that sense of safety with you into the world?
When have you benefited from facing danger?
A Clever Prayer to Close
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present[a] help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.