October 20

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” vs. 1

In the 1520’s as Martin Luther was facing increased resistance to his reformation writings and the forces of the Empire were poised to eliminate the fledgling Lutheran movement, he found great comfort in the words of Psalm 46. In fact it became the inspiration for his greatest song, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” a tune sometimes called “The Battle Hymn of the Reformation.” Written about 1527 it expresses his deep confidence that, even though the ancient foe of humanity was alive and well, God was stronger still, and would ultimately win the battle against sin and evil. Our situation is not nearly so fraught with danger as was his–we’re not facing the possibility of arrest and execution and COVID-19 is not to be compared with the Black Death–but still we are fearful and anxious! We worry about our children and grandchildren, and some days a dismal kind of malaise hangs over us like a dark cloud. Like Luther we need the assurance that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Obviously, the psalmist knew those feelings too, and offers words of comfort that continue to resonate with our troubled souls. Political forces are seeking to divide us, and there’s a deep reservoir of anger and hatred feeding our most primitive instincts, but we are not alone. Christ Jesus is on our side, and in him we have permanent peace.

Thought for the Day: Why is it so hard to feel the peace of God?

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