Sunday, October 25, 2020
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Schuyler, NE
First Reading • Psalm • Second Reading • Gospel
watch this service online (readings start around 16:28, sermon around 22:26)
Psalm 46 is one of those old favorite psalms that we read together every Reformation Sunday. It’s a powerful and comforting psalm. And, of course, Martin Luther loved this psalm so much that it inspired him to write A Mighty Fortress, which we also sing every year on Reformation Sunday. Both the psalm and the hymn still have lots of power, inspiring us and comforting us over five centuries later.
With so much intense stuff going on in the world right now, it seems like now is a good moment to pause and just let ourselves rest in these words for a moment. Now is the time to pause and remember that God is our refuge and strength, even in the midst of chaos and calamity. The earth may move, the nations may rage and the kingdoms shake, but the Lord of hosts is with us, and the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
I know this hasn’t been an easy time for any of you. I know your lives have been chaotic and disrupted. This pandemic has stolen our sense of safety and forced us to question nearly everything that we once took for granted. This election season feels like it’s lasted about 50 years, and now that we’re finally entering the final few crushing days before the actual election, it feels like every nerve is on edge like the sound of nails screeching on a chalkboard. We’re all feeling the stress.
And I know you are tired. I know you are sad. I know you are frustrated and fed up and full of grief that things continue to be so difficult and so different from life as it was.
All of this is why today I want to invite you into the peace of Psalm 46. There’s a centering prayer practice that uses Psalm 46 that I’ve seen people using around the synod a lot lately, and I want to share it with you. It focuses specifically on the first part of verse 10 of Psalm 46, which is the part of this psalm that you probably know best: “Be still, and know that I am God.” This practice shows that practically every word of this phrase has rich meaning and can speak good news to us.