Leaping Over the Wall / that Keeps Us Safe

When people enquire about how best to interest worshipers in the multiplicity of biblical images for God, I direct them to the matchless Psalm 18. In this one psalm, God, who is “my strength,” is likened to a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a shield, and “the horn of salvation”—an image the intention of which eludes even biblical scholars. God is in a heavenly temple, resembles the smoke and fire of a volcano, rides a cherub, descends to earth in thunder and lightening, has nostrils that quiver with rage. God is “my support” and yet functions also as our judge. God is our light, a commander of armies, an instructor of soldiers, to whom I sing praises and who makes me the head of nations. My favourite parts of Psalm 18 are verse 2, in which God is our fortress, the wall that keeps us safe, and verse 29, in which God helps us to leap over a wall. Which do you need, the protection of a wall or escape over a wall? All this in one psalm…

—-Gail Ramshaw, Saints on Sunday: Voices from Our Past Enlivening Our Worship (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2018), pp. 71-2.

New Norcia, wall. (Photo: Catherine Schieve.)

New Norcia, wall. (Photo: Catherine Schieve.)