Psalm 29: 7-9 (NRSVA)
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’
Since the pandemic began, it’s been easy to feel ‘boxed in’. Sadly, for some people, this is nothing new. Circumstances, ill-health, abuse, can all conspire to make us feel trapped.
Years ago I saw some performance art at a training conference which powerfully demonstrated this. The artist began reciting the comments made by an ex-partner which began positively and became increasingly negative. As she did so she gradually contracted her body until she was curled up in a ball. It is almost impossible to describe in words what a powerful visual metaphor she created.
We cannot always get ourselves out of such boxes, whether self-imposed or imposed by others or by circumstances outwith our control.
But the voice of God strikes with flashes of lightning.
Sometimes it feels like there is no way out.
Nothing but trees, walls, restrictions, limits.
And yet, if I listen, I can hear thunder. If I look, I can see a flash in the sky.
Twist these oaks that surround me, God,
Show me your power, and help me to cry, ‘Glory!’