Psalm 57 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 57:7-10

My heart is steadfast, O God,

my heart is steadfast.

I will sing and make melody.

Awake my soul! 

Awake, O harp and lyre!

I will awake the dawn.

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples.

I will sing praises to you among the nations.  Psalm 57:7-9

There is something on the AT known as the green tunnel.  That is when the trees are fully leafed out and all one can see above, to the side, and on the ground is green, green, green.  Leafless trees of late fall through mid-spring offer views between their branches, views of skies and valleys.  There is a sense of spaciousness on the trail.  Not so when summer settles into the central Appalachians.   I hit the green tunnel in mid June.  All day long there was little variation.  The profusion of spring flowers had faded and had left me enclosed by green with little distraction unless I crossed a power line or an open cattle field.

I would not call my heart steadfast like the psalmist’s—just ploddingly persevering, pushing to get to the destination of Damascus on schedule, trying not to let the green tunnel lull me into a walking zombie.  To avoid this I often passed the time by humming songs.  Or sometimes I would work on memorizing a piece of a psalm I had read earlier.  The verses for today’s post were ones that occupied me while trekking down a mountain somewhere in the green tunnel.  They helped me think about how I wanted to stay awake and alert to what God might be teaching, awake even to the experience of green, awake to pray for the people in the congregation whom I serve.  Since the journey was drawing to its final weeks, I wondered what I would take back to share with them.

I like to think that these particular verses chose to be the ones to walk with me on an uneventful,  green tunnel afternoon—more than I chose them.  They arrived to help me stay awake in the green to the ones I love and serve, to stay awake to what I think is monotony but may not be, to stay awake to pain, to stay awake to weariness, to stay awake to God—in order that I might stay awake to life, even on ordinary days back at home with not a single colorful thing going on.  Kermit the frog, like a good psalmist, says it really well: listen HERE! I may start singing this song on green tunnel days.


1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?  What helps you stay awake to what God is doing when circumstances are like a green tunnel?

2. Or read all of Psalm 57 to discover how this verse fits into the psalm or to discover a different verse.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that illustrates this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s reflection is from Psalm 58:8.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.


  1. Today won’t be a Green Tunnel day….:-)