The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
This is one of those lines of scripture I try to recall when my head is down and focussed on a problem, rather than up and focussed on God – my light and salvation. They are from Psalm 27.
Psalm 27 forms the basis of a song on “5+2”. The song is written from the perspective of a persecuted Christian – someone persecuted for their faith. I find it quite unbelievable how many people still suffer persecution for their beliefs in the present day, but just reading the literature of Open Doors brings it home to me.
The scale of persecution – violence, intimidation, rape, murder – makes my “problems” seem ridiculous to me in comparison. And I wondered if I could actually manage to write a song from this perspective.
Ultimately I figured that I am a brother in Christ to these persecuted believers. And put in the same shoes, this is the kind of passage I’d want to be able to call to mind. My hope is that this song might somehow help believers call upon and sing the truth of Psalm 27 over their situation, whatever that might be.
These verses stood out in writing the song:
2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Using these verses as core lyrics makes the song feel quite different as a worship song, as does the approach from the perspective of someone in a very dark place or situation. As the Psalm says, this is a place where the wicked are advancing to devour, and where an army besieges. Essentially I asked myself, “How would I worship God in that kind of situation? What words of scripture would I need to call upon?” And I reasoned that a song proclaiming the words of Psalm 27, in particular “The Lord is my Light any my Salvation” would be a good place to start. This is a truly powerful psalm.
A little like the song “Shine Jesus Shine”, this is a song of worship focussing on something very specific, in this case persecuted Christians. But I hope it ‘works’ for Western Christians too. At the end of the day, Christians in the West need to sing this truth over their own lives too. Western Christians also battle with armies, persecution and darkness – albeit of different kinds.
My final reflection on the song stems from this short film recently released by World Vision. It’s entitled “Raw Hope” and tells the story of vulnerable children in fragile states, and World Vision’s aim to save and protect those children from physical harm, exploitation and immediate threat. The Lord is MY light and salvation. The Lord is THEIR Light and salvation too. I believe I (and we) are called to bring God’s light to the world by overcoming this kind of darkness, and that this is integral to the gospel message. After all, we pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done”. So we must be part of bringing the kingdom… bringing the Lord’s light in this awful darkness.
On so many levels and in so many situations, proclaiming “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation!” is no bad thing. It is a truth for our own lives and one that should motivate us to be light in the world’s darkness – whether in prayer and support for the persecuted church, or engaging in initiatives like Raw Hope. Thy Kingdom come!
Photo by Rich Johnstone