You have made me stride freely and my feet do not slip. 2 Samuel 22:37
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
Anyone else having a little trouble walking outside with the variety of snow and ice, and lumps of ice that are on our driveways and sidewalks? In Tai Chi class we practice what is called Tai Chi walking – putting out a foot, making sure we are not slipping, that foot is secure, then slowly shift our weight fully onto that foot before picking up our other foot. Repeat as you walk very carefully. What might be an enjoyable walk has some tension added as we don’t want to slip and twist an ankle or fall on the icy surface. I remember a woman I met as a freshman in college who was from California. Minnesota winters were a bit confusing to her, especially when it came to walking. She fell a few times and told me that where she came from you could just stride right along and not worry about walking a certain way.
The 22nd chapter of 2 Samuel, almost the same in Psalm 18, is a song of praise from David, the king. In our verse for today, he says that he can stride freely along, and his foot will not slip. Another translation of this verse (NIV) says “You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.” The terrain David lives in is not all smooth paths, and straight roads, plenty of ways to slip or twist an ankle even without ice and snow. He is thankful for a God that has helped him in so many ways, giving him a path to follow and being with him along that path.
We read in Corinthians about having freedom wherever the Spirit of the Lord is found. In verse six, Paul writes that the action of the Spirit is to bring life as part of the new covenant. No longer is it the letter of the law that is to be followed perfectly; no one can do that. But the Spirit of the Lord has made us free from condemnation under the law. It also makes us free to follow the path, to stride freely on the path, and follow the plan that God has for us. As we look around us we may not see the enemies that David had, but we see plenty of injustice, unequal treatment of people based on their skin color. We see those needing housing and food in a country that has plenty. We can confidently speak up and work toward justice. We have the example, just celebrated this week, of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King who spoke out against and peacefully protested injustice.
Maybe we still can’t stride freely on the ice we find outside in January; we have to carefully plant our feet. But we can freely and eagerly follow the path God has laid out for us because He will make sure our feet do not slip.
As one spiritual song says: “Guide my feet Lord while I run this race, For I don’t want to run this race alone.”
Spirit of the living God, we are grateful for the freedom you offer. Yet we are partly locked in despondence, self-absorption, and resentments. Help us to see the injustice all around us and help us to work to change things. You give us new strength each day so we can reach our God-given potential. Continue to guide our paths this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.