Blog: Psalm 121, Journeys, and Angry Cats

I’ve been the Rector of St. Paul’s, Richmond for a little over two weeks. Just prior to that, Matthew and I pulled up stakes in Indiana. We said goodbye to the people of Trinity, Bloomington and headed east. Our cat, Francis, was my travel mate for the two-day journey. He was not as excited as I was!
The moving truck arrived and unloaded all of our belongings. It’s weird to see all of your “stuff” in one place – an entire life of things that matter to you being carefully moved from one place to another.
While I have spent a lot of energy physically moving, I must admit to being emotionally and spiritually moved by the ways that this community has welcomed us. The St. Paul’s community has blessed us with gifts, cards, and food. Already, you are letting me into your hearts and into your lives, and I am humbled by your generosity of spirit. The Richmond community is also eager to say, “Welcome to Richmond.” Matthew and I feel very supported. Transitions are always challenging; no one particularly likes change, but change often reminds us of our trust in God and our trust in each other.
I am reminded of the psalmist in Psalm 121. “I lift my eyes to the hills,” says the poet, “from whence cometh my help? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121 is known as a Psalm of Ascent, a grouping of psalms that were said by pilgrims as they journeyed toward Jerusalem. These pieces of ancient poetry would have helped prepare them for their visit to Jerusalem – the dwelling place of God. As they moved on foot with family and friends, the words of the psalm would remind them of their own identity as children of God and of their utter reliance on God.
Journeys are nothing new – they are a part of the narrative of the people of God. And, in the end, no matter how much “stuff” we put on and take off of moving trucks, all that we have is a gift from God. As we journey and transition, God is always present in delicious quiches made by new friends … even in the presence of a grumpy cat. No matter what and no matter where we are, the Lord will “watch over our going out, and our coming in, from this time forth, forever more.”
May the Lord watch over us as we journey together in trust and in love.
See you in church,
Charlie+
Rector, St. Paul’s Church
cdupree@stpaulsrva.org