Day 298 | Monday, 11 January 2021
As the aftermath of last Wednesday’s attack on our Capitol continues to be present in our news, the ride on the emotional roller coaster continues. A portion of the ride includes the rising numbers of cases and deaths from the COVID-19 virus. Another twist and turn in the ride is the upcoming inauguration of President Biden and the uncertainty of the safety surrounding that activity. Our intelligence agencies are picking up chatter of a nationwide event being planned for the 17th by domestic terrorists. That offends me in so many ways but mostly that such an event would be scheduled for the Lord’s Day. Are you sharing my feelings that it seems like we have gone down the rabbit hole? I do not ride roller coasters but on this ride, I simply pray, God, please keep this “car” on the tracks.
We give thanks throughout the journey of life, in the ups and downs, the good times and bad times. In 1663, Martin Rinkart, a pastor in Eilenburg, Germany, composed a hymn that is familiar to many of us. “Now thank we all our God; With heart and hands and voices; Who wondrous things hath done, In Whom this world rejoices.” During the Thirty Years War, people flocked to Eilenburg because it had protective walls. The plague hit, killing 50 people a day. Rinkart became the only pastor left, conducting nearly 5,000 funerals, including that of his own wife. His ministry spanned 32 years, most of it with the war going on around him. It must have been tough for him to be thankful. He saw good times and bad times.
Here is Rinkart’s hymn:
1. “Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices; who from our mother’s arms has blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.”
2. “O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us, with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us; and keep us still in grace, and guide us when perplexed; and free us from all ills, in this world and the next.”
3. “All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given; the Son, and him who reigns with them in highest heaven; the one eternal God, whom earth and heaven adore; for thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.”
A Prayer for Truth
“There are so many voices, O Lord. We are assaulted from every corner. We are surrounded by a myriad of calls and offers and temptations. There are offers of salvation, there are promises of prosperity, there are threats and coercion toward conformity. There is so much, O Lord, that we often feel like we are drowning in a sea of confusion and despair.
How do we cut through the darkness? How can we know where to stake a claim for our lives? How can we know which path is right when so many lay claim to our souls? How can we know which words to call our words and claim for our own?
O Lord, the modern world has given us so much to believe in, but has made us so cynical we hardly know if truth is even a possibility anymore. We pray that you might guide us through this maze of conflicting ideas. Take our hands as children and steer us through this confusion and doubt. Gently turn our faces away from the shadows toward the light. Help us to know that there is a truth to which we may commit ourselves - not an idea or confession, not a proposition, not a theory, not a principle, but a person.
Heal us, O Lord. Lift our bowed heads and help us say with one voice, "We believe in God, maker of heaven and earth, and in his Son, Jesus Christ."
Teach us to say this not as a mere ritual affirmation, but as humble recognition that our voices are joined with others saying the same words.
And let the words and the truth behind them form a new world, and silence the cries and lies, and scatter the darkness, and make us whole. Amen”