By Elaine Enns
Scripture: “Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear… For God will hide me in a shelter in the day of trouble.” Psalm 27:3a, 5a
As babies, both Moses and Jesus were hidden away from danger during times of war and oppression by courageous caregivers. This archetypal script is also found in my family story, and perhaps in yours. My grandmother grew up in the Mennonite village of Osterwick, Ukraine. As a result of endemic injustice under the Tsar, the Russian Revolution broke out in 1917, and civil war raged through the country. In Ukraine, a peasant army arose to fight for independence, but their methods were often brutal, including home invasions. In December 1919, my great-grandmother Anna Schulz’s house was commandeered for two weeks. The males of the house had to flee for their lives into the nearby forest, while my fifteen year-old grandmother, along with her sister and girl cousins, were hidden up in the attic. Anna proceeded to feed, clothe, and nurse the rough soldiers. In the face of terror, she committed her life to her Divine protector, and practiced non-violence.
Too many of us avoid conflict and insulate ourselves from violence and poverty. The psalmist made his confession of faith in a time of social troubles, and I imagine my grandmother reciting this psalm while serving her captors. This inspires me to live out an Anabaptist faith that challenges injustice, while resisting the epidemic of fear that is infecting our current political climate. May our churches find more courage to protect children vulnerable to domestic abuse, poverty, street violence and war.
Response: Shelter us, God, in these times of trouble, that we may also provide shelter to others.