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Ein feste Burg

April 30, 2020

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Day 46 is brought to you by Psalm 46.

This psalm immediately makes Lutherans (and many others) think of Martin Luther’s hymn, “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”). Written in the late 1520s, this great hymn of faith was written under duress. For a decade, Luther and his colleagues had been striving to bring the gospel back into focus, for themselves and for the world. Needless to say, many of the powers that be were not on board.

To make matters worse, the plague came to town.

As you can read about elsewhere on this blog, Luther didn’t leave town. He knew his place was with his neighbors. He and Katharina tended to the sick, physically and spiritually.

Out of his interior conflict and the suffering around him arose this great hymn of hope. Luther did what he always did, what he taught us to do. He turned from himself and fled for hope into the arms of the gospel.

God’s Word forever shall abide, / No thanks to foes, who fear it; / For God himself fights by our side / With weapons of the Spirit. / Were they to take our house, / Goods, honor, child or spouse, / Though life be wrenched away, / They cannot win the day. / The Kingdom’s ours forever! (Lutheran Book of Worship, 229)

“Be still,” cries the Lord in the psalm, “and know that I am God!”

In the midst of our ongoing pandemic, we run to the gospel for comfort, placing our faith in the only One worthy of our trust, the One who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. May you feel the safety and peace of God enfolding you today. With that peace in your heart, turn to your neighbor and seek to do them good.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God, you have been our refuge and strength, our mighty fortress. Comfort us today with the hope of the gospel, and open our hearts to those around us. Let us be still in your presence, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: The Scholosskirche in Wittenberg, Germany, taken by me on June 25, 2014, when I was serving as pastor for Wittenberg English Ministry. The tower was undergoing significant renovations and repairs in anticipation of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a nice reminder of the Spirit’s ongoing reformation of the Church.

Bonus pics of the kids taken that same day in Wittenberg.

From → COVID-19

  1. Cathy Schnittker permalink

    Thank you for always having the perfect psalm each day. I wake in the morning and look so forward to your message. I do believe that God will keep us strong through this pandemic and we will love one another even more.
    Pastor Lyle, you and your beautiful family have become so close to my heart and I thank God everyday for you being in my home and church

  2. Rainer Hengst permalink

    Were you in Wittenberg when this photo was taken?
    (November 28, 2014)

    Rainer Hengst
    Pawleys Island, SC

  3. Well, Rainer, actually I took the photo on June 25, 2014. Not sure where the Nov. 28 date is coming from? All the best – Dave.

  4. Marnie permalink

    It it weren’t for the fortress of saving grace we not only would not be able to defeat the Coronavirus, we wouldn’t have lives worth living. But Jesus says we are more than worth the protection of his strong and gentle arms!

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