A reflection on Psalm 27, Advent bulletin art for Davidson College Presbyterian Church; Mobile, AL, December 2015.

Psalm 27

{Cardboard, permanent marker, newspaper, colored pencil, coffee filter, paper bag, and chalk pastel.}

I sat down to read Psalm 27 for this relatively quick reflection, verses 11-14 struck me as a particular relevant prayer.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they are breathing out violence.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

Partly due to my inability to make images that actually look reasonably like human beings, I started thinking about other ways to represent the psalmist’s deep faith in God. The reaching flower you see here is in part inspired by the beginning of v. 6: “Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me…”

Newspapers seemed fitting to represent the psalmist’s enemies — the ones bearing false witness and breathing out violence. This isn’t at all to say that I’m equating every member of the media with pure evil. Of course that’s not true. But what I do think is that there are some people and institutions that will use fear to achieve their own goals, and that although violence has been around about as long as life has, it has lately seemed particularly overwhelming. As I sat in front of the news on Wednesday evening, eyes brimming with tears, my thoughts were filled with more questions than answers (and more four letter words than are appropriate on this public forum).

“I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” I do. But goodness isn’t always obvious, and waiting isn’t always passive. I think we’ve got some work to do while we wait. Even an unassuming flower spends its time reaching toward light.