I’ve been working with Psalm 91 for a couple of months now, and as I’ve been sending out materials to lots of lovely folk around the country, I’ve been very moved by the comments coming back. It reminds me that Scripture is indeed God’s living word, able to get to the heart of a matter, to speak directly to the human condition, and to give reassurance and comfort when we need it most.

Find the journalling kit and additional materials here. 

Or watch an introductory video here:

In the midst of our current global pandemic, where we need to rely on all the latest scientific advice and research, it’s interesting that we should also be reaching for an ancient text to speak to our situation. Yet as Christians, that is what we do, because we know that in God’s word we find what we need to survive spiritually day by day, even in extreme circumstances. We know too that we are not the first to find reassurance in this way. We belong to a long line of people who have trusted God’s word in time of need.

The other day I got an email from a dear friend of mine – she is a priest, married to a farmer, and had ordered the Psalm 91 Bible Journalling kit. She gave me permission to share this:

“Thank you so much for sending the Creative Bible Journalling Notes for Psalm 91 so promptly. It’s a Psalm very close to (our) hearts. God used it powerfully in our lives in 2001 when we were dealing with the Foot and Mouth crisis. My Dad had his cattle slaughtered as he was in a contiguous zone – he couldn’t face it so Keith went to supervise, and we ourselves were exactly three miles from the nearest cases – right on the borderline for being contiguous. It was scary going into the cattle sheds in the evenings and seeing a pall of smoke from the burning pyres above – all our lovely cattle – the little calves, blissfully unaware, were racing around playing. Heartbreaking… About a month in both Keith and I were very stressed and had lost a lot of weight. We realised we couldn’t live in fear, that we had to find a way of dealing with what was happening. On that particular week we were signposted to Psalm 91 on three different occasions. That Psalm carried us through the rest of the year, and ‘no plague did come near our dwelling’ even although thousands (of cattle and sheep) fell around us. We will never forget it.”

We may sometimes read the Bible and feel that it’s images are not very relevant these days. Yet it’s strange how much power those images can have at times, generations later. Refuge, shielding, plague, shelter, even fortress have suddenly taken on a new meaning for us as countries and regions face recurring lockdowns and individuals fear for their lives in the face of this new ‘plague’.

The reassurances in Psalm 91 are very comforting and ring true in all sorts of circumstances, as the above email demonstrates so powerfully. The notes in the study booklet help us unpack these images and explore what they mean right now. Even the idea of a covering of feathers has a contemporary feel as we crawl under our duvets for warmth and safety each night. Playing with the image of feathers can lead to all sorts of different insights as you can see in this video I made while on holiday on the Isle of Iona. It includes a simple tutorial of how to paint feathers in watercolour – it’s a very calming and prayerful activity if you just need a little break.

Alongside all the powerful images of God’s care and protection, we inevitably have difficult questions. Some of us struggle with the promises that everything will be Ok when it can seem like the opposite is true. The notes help us explore this too. They go through the Psalm verse by verse with pictures and suggestions for how you might take your own journalling. You can take the bits you find helpful use them as a springboard for your prayer and exploration.

You can order the full kit with craft materials and a mixed media journal here.

Or you can just get the journal and study notes without the craft materials here.

You can find more videos on the You Tube channel here.

Psalm 91: shielding, shelter, and the global pandemic

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