Sunday we continue our walk through some of the wisdom literature of the Bible, drawing from both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, in our series Timeless Wisdom.
In Psalm 46 the psalmist poetically describes a sense of security, peace, and confidence in the midst of a changing, sometimes chaotic and violent world:
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
He describes international strife: “The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter.” He then proclaims, “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” But, he doesn’t end there. He moves to a reminder that we — and people of faith in every age — need to hear: “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” It is a word we need to hear in our time and place. God is God and we are not. Be still and meditate on that, know that. We need times and places of stillness to center and re-center our lives on God and what matters most — especially in times of difficulty and busy-ness.
In this Sunday’s reading from the gospel of Mark, we find Jesus doing what he often did in the midst of the busy-ness of his ministry to troubled, confused, oppressed, and hurting people. He got up before sunrise and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. The disciples eventually tracked him down and it was back to business. But is wasn’t all activity for Jesus. He had intentional times of stillness.
This is a word we need to hear, isn’t it? We have a common expression that goes like this: “Don’t just sit there, do something.” The timeless wisdom of Jesus and the Psalms turns that on its head: Don’t just do something, sit there.
This Sunday, is World Communion Sunday. It is an annual observance when we remember all our Christian brothers and sisters around the globe who gather around the Lord’s Table for the sacred meal in many different places and situations. As we gather, we pray for our world and for people everywhere. We pray for peace to the One Who “makes wars cease to the end of the earth, breaks the bow, shatters the spear, and burns the shields with fire.” As we gather, we remember that God is God. That it is God Who is “exalted among the nations,” Who is “exalted in the earth.” As we gather, we remember and celebrate all God’s mighty acts in Jesus Christ and we celebrate that “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
I look forward to being in worship with you on Sunday.
Grace and Peace,
Psalm 46 Common English Bible (NRSV)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Mark 1:35-39 Common English Bible (CEB)
Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. Simon and those with him tracked him down. When they found him, they told him, “Everyone’s looking for you!” He replied, “Let’s head in the other direction, to the nearby villages, so that I can preach there too. That’s why I’ve come.” 39 He traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and throwing out demons.