Rev. Erica Lea-Simka is a graduate of San Jacinto College, Texas A&M, and Truett Theological Seminary. She has served Baptist and Mennonite congregations in Wyoming, Texas, North Carolina, and Washington D.C. She began serving as Pastor of Albuquerque Mennonite Church in November. When not at church or serving the community, she enjoys cooking, walking, movies, traveling, and time with her sweetheart. Connect with Erica online: Twitter@RevEricaLea and revericalea.org.
Reflections on Psalm 27
For my ordination in 2015, I selected three Bible passages to shape the service: Psalm 27, Ecclesiastes 3 and John 20. The intended unifying theme of these passages was faithfulness to calling. In John 20, Mary Magdalene gives witness to the risen Christ. In Ecclesiastes 3, the Hebrew wisdom literature assures the reader that there is a time and a season for everything and just as the seasons are faithful in their coming, as a pastor I desire to be faithful in all metaphorical seasons. Finally, Psalm 27 highlights the faithfulness of God and the faithfulness of people.
A more deeply theological understanding of faithfulness is the virtue of fidelity. “Fidelity is the virtue that allows us to persevere in living out an unswerving commitment. … We can speak of a commitment to a task, to an ideal such as justice, truth, or beauty, [or] to another person…”
At my ordination, I took vows to pursue fidelity in my calling as a pastor and as a disciple of Jesus Christ and to be faithful to the church[es] that I serve. This intention and commitment to fidelity is not for the faint of heart. Fidelity is only possible by asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, encouragement and wisdom. I have found that developing fidelity in my own life and calling by asking for the Holy Spirit to remind me of Her fidelity, comes as a result of grace foremost, and also quality time.
The Psalmist writes in verse 4, “One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” It is precisely this asking, seeking, living, beholding and inquiring that reminds us of God’s fidelity, God’s faithfulness to us, and then serves as a catalyst for us to grow in the imago dei, the image of God, as we live with fidelity.
Advent is a natural time to consider who or what is the imago dei as Christians around the world reflect on the coming of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. How is the image of God, Emmanuel, seen more clearly at this time, during this season?
The coming of Jesus Christ is a tangible expression of God’s fidelity, God’s loving commitment, toward humanity. May we do likewise showing chesed, loving kindness, and fidelity to ourselves, to God and to our neighbors as we reflect the imago dei every day, not only during this season of long shadows and charitable Christmas season emphasis.
If you are like me and some days you struggle to live into the virtue of fidelity, know that you are in good company. “Be strong, and let your heart take courage.” (Psalm 27:14b) Emmanuel is near!