Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Psalm 145:1-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Greatness and the Goodness of God
Praise. Of David.
1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you,
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall laud your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Psalm 145 is another Psalm of praise that extols the greatness of God celebrates the nature of God: the One who has done great things, who is righteous, gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, good to all, and has compassion for all. The psalmist names the blessings of who God is and what God has done.
I think about the hymn “Now Thank We All Our God,” written by Pastor Martin Rinkart in the seventeenth century. Much of his life as a pastor was amid the horrors of the Thirty Years War. He lived in the walled town of Eilenburg, which became a refuge for people fleeing violence from all around. It was terribly overcrowded and suffered from disease and famine. During the great pestilence of 1637 Rinkart had to officiate at the funerals of two of the town clergy and was for some time the only clergyperson in the town. He often officiated the funerals of 40 to 50 persons per day. In all, he conducted the funerals of 4,4880 people. During the epidemic some 8,000 people died, including Rinkart’s first wife, who died May 8, 1637. The next year there was a devastating famine, during which Rinkart’s resources were strained to the limit to help his people. It was during this time that Pastor Rinkart wrote the words to the beloved hymn as a table grace for his family:
- Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
- O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us,
to keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world in the next.
- All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster