Psalm 17:1-9 (NRSV)
Verse 1Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
Verse 2From you let my vindication come; let your eyes see the right.
Verse 3If you try my heart, if you visit me by night, if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress.
Verse 4As for what others do, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
Verse 5My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
Verse 6I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words.
Verse 7Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
Verse 8Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,
Verse 9from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me.
The psalmist petitions God to “hear a just cause” and ”guard me as the apple of the eye.” The psalmist’s request is not presumptuous, but the realistic and faith-filled one of a saint who asks that no matter what happens—no matter what enemies, temptations, or situations may try to hold him captive—God would continue to be with him, hold him, and protect him.
Be it All Saints’ Day or any other, we also can be bold in our petitions to God, confident not in our own righteousness, but that because of our baptism into Christ, Jesus has made us righteous. Like all those imperfect but beloved saints who have gone before us, we live trusting that God has and will continue to guard us and hold us as we face our joys and our challenges, and as we use our gifts to make the world a better place.
Sheltering God, thank you for the faithful who have gone before us! Give us the courage to live into our baptismal promises today, loving and caring for the neighbor near and far, so that all might come to know, live, and trust in your sheltering gifts of forgiveness, grace, and love that are ours in Jesus. Amen.