Let’s just re cap on todays reading
You are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD,
a tower of refuge to the needy in distress.
You are a refuge from the storm
and a shelter from the heat.
For the oppressive acts of ruthless people
are like a storm beating against a wall,
or like the relentless heat of the desert.
But you silence the roar of foreign nations.
As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat,
so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.
There are numerous passages in the Bible where God is described as our shelter. In Isaiah 25, God is compared to a tower, a safe place for refugees, a shelter from the storm and a cloud that brings shade.
Different writers in the Bible saw different needs for shelter. David spent time on the run, and God as a hiding place was a powerful metaphor for him. Isaiah lived at a time when the nation of Israel was threatened by a foreign power. The prophet’s words would have resonated with those displaced by an invading army. The opposite may be true in Scotland, but as a desert people, there was comfort in the prospect of cloud – finally, some respite from the baking heat of the sun.
We would all have our own idea of what safety might be, and the wildlife around us will have a different perspective too. Small garden birds find safety in the tangled branches of shrubbery, something they can dart into when the shadow of a larger bird passes. For those birds of prey that they fear, shelter might mean a nook in a cliff face or a high branch of a tree. Others find shelter lower down. The deer feed in the open and return to the forest at night. Hedgehogs are at home in a pile of leaves. Puffins burrow themselves an underground nest.
As the autumn brings the colder weather, now is a good time to look at your garden and your church grounds, and think about making them a place of shelter for wildlife. What birds and animals could take refuge here? What could you add or enhance in order to create more safe places? We are invited to find peace and rest in the presence of God. How can we share and pass on that sense of welcome and protection to the wildlife around us?