Wednesday, August 15, 2007


In footie pajamas or Sunday best, us kids were often called upon to give recitations when I was little. We lined up on the raised brick in front of the fireplace, singing rousing versions of "The Battle of New Orleans" or "Great Granddad." To the last, we always added the crucial "Hm, musta stuck to him!"

Why did these memories awake? This morning's Bible reading.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

We memorized a good bit of Psalm 91, and it was often part of the recitals. We spouted it off quickly, as children often do with any memorized words But the lyrical quality of the first glorious sentence stayed with me.

And images quietly engraved themselves.

Fiery arrows raining down.

Huge wings to hide under.

Over my childhood years, these wings grew in my mind. They protected and nurtured like those of Fledge the winged horse, though of course much bigger. Like the golden wings of the great eagle in Rescuers Down Under, though these wings never needed rescuing.

Part of my "grown-up" self is revolted at the idea of comparing God with something birdlike. Birds can be rather nasty, even mean. But perhaps angels had wings before birds even were, so wings may not be essentially bird-ish. And maybe birds are only meant to reflect in some small yet tangible aspect something about their Maker.

He wants me to run and hide under His wings now, as readily as that child on the fireplace brick.