Going Deeper 11-20-19

The Psalm for Christ the King Sunday...

Psalm 46  1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 "Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth." 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.


This Psalm was one of our readings recently… for Reformation Sunday.  So this morning I will focus only on the well-known words from verse 10: "Be still, and know that I am God!" 


Contemplatives (which I sometimes try to be) love this verse.  Meditation is all about being still.  For Christians, it is about relaxing body and mind and seeking to focus on the presence of God.   Lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading”) is the type of contemplation I trust the most as it focuses on a word, or phrase, or verse from the Scriptures, which is the means through which God speaks most clearly to His children.


If we were to practice this with Psalm 46, we might first select one verse, asking the Spirit to guide us.  Today let’s select verse 10.  We would then sit in a chair, try to relax all of our body, breathing deeply and focusing only on the words of the text: "Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth."  In the first reading we might ask the Spirit to lead us to a word or phrase that would bless us.  Perhaps it would be simply "Be still, and know..."  We would then repeat those words over and over, contemplating their meaning, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us.


There have been occasions where this exercise has been powerful for me, but many times I never get totally focused.  But as last Sunday’s Collect prayer during worship reminded us, God’s word brings its greatest blessing when we “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” it.  And as St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, we are to “let the word of God dwell in us richly.”  Contemplation can be an effective way of doing just that!


With You in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."