Written by Kim Williams
First Congregational Church of Fresno
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.
My daughter Dorothy is five years old, and she has some very stereotypical five-year old habits. One of those habits is being absolutely terrified of the dark. There’s something very unsettling about bedtime, and we have to ritualize our routine in order to get her down for the night. Neon roller skate light turned on, her door left ajar so she feels connected to us, our door left ajar so she doesn’t feel shut out, the blankets arranged around her tiny frame like a hug, and our goodnight prayer which we sing.
When we skip steps, we end up with her in our room before 10:00. I think the psalmist must have known a kindergartner, because this verse speaks to that uneasy relationship with the unknown that her fear of the dark seems to stem from. Even in our times of deep fear and uncertainty when we don’t know the next step, God is there to tuck us in tightly and keep our nightlight lit throughout the night.