Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Who is your stronghold? - Psalm 46


While praying the Daily Office this morning, Psalm 46 came up as the reading for this day of Epiphany. If ever there were words that we need to hear in anxious times, it would be Psalm 46, which begins: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." And, of course, we all are in "trouble" and "fear" at times in our life. Things in our life do cause the "earth to be moved" and trusted mountains "topple into the depths of the sea." Whether it is our present uneasiness with the current economic crisis, or our confusion and sadness about ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the seemingly intractable conflict between Hamas and Israel, events seem beyond our control, and peace and security seem so far away. Where is our stronghold? Where do we go for strength? Psalm 46 makes the striking and audacious claim that we are to turn to the Lord, quite an amazing claim in the somewhat relativistic and atheistic (or at least agnostic) and secular age!

"The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our stronghold." This assertion is repeated three times in this psalm, are we ready to turn to prayer, are we willing to "turn aside" as Moses did when he passed the Burning Bush? Are we willing to recognize the great gift that God has given us, the gift of God's presence, the gift of God among us - Emanuel?

We move to the end of the Christmas Season, and into Ephiphany, but the miracle and the wondrous gift of the Incarnation is with us still, and abides with us always. God is our stronghold, and is a very present help in trouble! God has been through this with us, and we will get through it as well (whatever "it" may be).

God is our stronghold!

May we have the curiosity and courage to "turn aside" and see this very present help in trouble!

~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey


Psalm 46 Deus noster refugium
1 God is our refuge and strength, *
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, *
and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;
3 Though its waters rage and foam, *
and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
4 The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
5 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, *
the holy habitation of the Most High.
6 God is in the midst of her;
she shall not be overthrown; *
God shall help her at the break of day.
7 The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; *
God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away.
8 The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
9 Come now and look upon the works of the LORD, *
what awesome things he has done on earth.
10 It is he who makes war to cease in all the world; *
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire.
11 "Be still, then, and know that I am God; *
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth."
12 The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

No comments: