Signposts: Daily Devotions

Thursday, January 29

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.
—Psalm 51:12

The word salvation seems outdated, doesn’t it? How often do you hear someone talk about salvation in ordinary conversation—or in any conversation for that matter? Have you ever said to a friend, “I woke up this morning and realized I needed salvation”? I know I haven’t.

But I have talked to people about health. I have talked to friends about wanting to live a more healthy life in body, mind, and spirit. And people have talked to me about how they are so stressed and exhausted that it is affecting their health. “I want to feel better, be healthier,” someone said to me recently. 

The root of the word salvation is salus, health. Barbara Brown Taylor writes in her book Speaking of Sin:

In Hebrew scripture, salvation comes as the gift of shalom from Yahweh, who intends to heal the whole creation….Based on my reading of scripture, it seems entirely possible that Jesus might define salvation as recovery from illness or addiction, as forgiveness of debt, as peace between old enemies, as shared food in time of famine, or as justice for the poor.

Now, that is some kind of health plan. Maybe we should ask our politicians where they stand on salvation. Better still, maybe we should ask ourselves.

Gracious God, restore to me the joy of your salvation. Amen.