Saturday, July 25, 2020

July 25, 2020 – Saturday prior to Pentecost 8 – Proper 12

Joshua 24:16 –This passage is the inspiration for the hymn, “From God can nothing move me” {LSB 524}. The people react to Joshua’s commitment to serve the Lord. The people respond, “We will not serve other gods.” If we say of the Lord, “He is our God,” we cannot serve any other.

Ironically this hymn was written specifically for friends fleeing the 1563 plague in Erfurt to comfort them on their journey. Johann Sebastian Bach used several of Helmbold’s hymn texts in his cantatas, and stanza five of Von Gott Will Ich Nicht Lassen appears in Bach’s O heilges Geist-und Wasserbad (O holy bath of Spirit and Water).

The hymn is set to the tune VON GOTT WILL ICH NICHT LASSEN. This is probably the most well-known hymn of Ludwig Helmbold, a German philosophy professor and poet of Lutheran hymns.

Stanza three reads as follows:
The Lord my life arranges;
      Who can His work destroy?
      In His good time He changes
      All sorrow into joy.
      So let me then be still:
      My body, soul, and spirit
      His tender care inherit
      According to His will.

From Exodus 3, when Moses meets God, the great I AM, in the burning bush. There the I AM says to Moses, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry. … I know their sufferings, and I have come to deliver them.”

Here, even in the Old Testament, the Lord comes to His people to comfort them. In the face of temptation, trial, and even slavery, the Lord arranges our lives. None can destroy his work—not chariots, not Pharaoh and all his hosts, not even Satan.

We need only be still, for He who led His people Israel out of bondage in Egypt still comes to us with tender care to protect and strengthen us in body, soul, and spirit.

Stanza Five
      Praise God with acclamation
      And in His gifts rejoice.
      Each day finds its vocation
      Responding to His voice.
      Soon years on earth are past;
      But time we spend expressing
      The love of God brings blessing
      That will forever last!

How are we to respond to these great gifts? We shall praise God and rejoice in His kindness! Just as He continues to come to us daily, exactly where He promises to be, we daily find our response and our purpose in Him, following His voice as He reveals it to us in Holy Scripture.

And though we know our earthly days are limited, our Christian vocation is everlasting. We are freed in Christ to express the love of God in service to our neighbor and in acclamation we return to heaven. Those blessings Christ gives to us; and the blessings Christ gives to His people through His gifts and through us, His servants, are everlasting—even beyond the tomb of earthly death.[2]

A Collect For blessing on the WordLord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, my Lord.[3]

[1] Te Deum copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher  Things
[3]  Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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