God is God

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though

the earth should change,

though the mountains shake in

the heart of the sea;

though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble

with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams

make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the

Most High.

God is in the midst of the city; it

shall not be moved;

God will help it when the

morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar, the

kingdoms totter;

he utters his voice, the earth


The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the


see what desolations he has

brought on the earth;

He makes wars cease to the end of

the earth;

he breaks the bow, and shatters

the spear;

he burns the shields with fire,

Be still and know that I am


I am exalted among the nations,

I am exalted in the earth.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our refuge.

I have a small pencil-drawn, less than perfect version of a star beside Psalm 46 in my bible. I don’t know about you, but I need these words today. Words of reminding, words of confidence, words of affirmation, humbling and glorious words spoken and/or sung by an author whose faith in God moved beyond the limitations of an imperfect humanity in an imperfect world.

It’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves and our needs, wants, and desires. Most often we don’t mean to, but we fall prey to the temptation to live as if the world revolves around us and what we do in our lives. We run headlong toward a stated or more often, unstated goal of some sort that will define us as successful, happy, and strong. We gather around the vaunted statue of individual strength, pulling ourselves up by our own boostraps (mine don’t have any of those, yours?), and at least appearing invulnerable and seemingly impervious to the hurt and pain inside, around, and through ourselves and our world.

Part of the notes about this Psalm in the NRSV study bible says, “God will preserve God’s people even during the cosmic tumults of the latter days . . . the establishment of God’s realm will bring peace to the earth.” What if the earth is, in complete fact, God’s and, “all that dwell therein”? What foundation does that give us to continue living a day at a time simply seeking to accept who we are and from a place of enduring peace, choose to serve and work for a world that moves toward God’s vision for all of God’s beloved creation?

I had breakfast this week with a couple of friends who very much believe that the greatest work we have to do in this perfectly imperfect world is first, internal. That finding peace and healing within ourselves, as sometimes led and always supported members of a faith community, has a greater impact on the transformation of the world than we can imagine. The question becomes how we create and encourage an environment for meditation, reflection, spiritual learning?

What does the Psalmist sing in the midst of the most stirring and beautiful poetry in the 46th Psalm, 10th verse? “Be still, and know that I am God!”

How hard, sometimes . . . maybe most of the time for some of us? How hard to be still, to trust, to know that God is God and we are not. And that in all of God’s well, God-ness, God loves and lives and places within us all we need to be healed, whole, and thereby generously loving and forgiving humans? I want to remember that today, and accept that today’s faith is enough for today. Then tomorrow I want to choose that again, and then again, and then again – one day at a time, until my life of faith is that which wholly defines my journey.

We live in challenging times as a church and as a nation, but then, so did Jesus. We live in a world of tremendous disagreement where power and money threaten to distort and destroy our humanity, but then, so did Jesus. We live in a nation we proclaim peaceful but witness killings on a daily basis, but then, so did Jesus. We participate in a world where the overfed are neighbors with those living with food insecurity, but then, so did Jesus. Part of our history is a world that crucified Jesus . . . because he loved too much, because he loved the wrong kind of people, because he advocated for the outcast, because he stood up to political and military power without a weapon in his hand but his humanity. And we live in a world where God would not let our worst moments and our worst selves have the last word.

On this day, and for this day, the Psalmist reminds me, and may it be for you as well . . . Be still and know, that God is God, and we, well, we simply are not.