November 29

 

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Psalm 90:1

 

Moses begins this psalm with comforting words for people who fear death.  They have learned to trust in God’s mercy because of this fear.  They are glad they have life.  They recognize they’re sinners and don’t ignore theirs sins or laugh them off.  They are teachable and willing to be comforted.  When I was a monk, I often had to set down the Bible when I came to this psalm.  I didn’t understand the harsh language in the later verses.  Back then, I didn’t understand that this psalm wasn’t meant for those who are already frightened by their sins.  Moses is primarily preaching to the indifferent and arrogant masses of humanity who aren’t concerned about God’s anger, their impending deaths, or their own misfortune.

Look at the title of this psalm, and you will see it’s called a prayer.  The most important requirement of a true, sincere prayer is that we firmly believe that we have eternal life and that God is merciful.  It’s only because God is merciful that we can be sure the Lord will protect us from eternal death.  If this weren’t true, why would Moses call God our dwelling place?  Therefore, these words assure us that God is able to give us eternal life.

Although Moses was aware of his sin and God’s anger, he dared to say, “Lord, even though you are rightfully angry with us because of our sins, you have never abandoned us.  You have always preserved your faithful people on earth in spite of our ins.  You have continued to be a dwelling place and safe harbor for those who, through you, confidently expect eternal life.”  The most important requirement of prayer is firmly holding on to God and believing that he is merciful and compassionate – someone who wants to help us.

Martin Luther’s Here I Stand (Audio CD)

In the late afternoon of April 18, 1521, in the city of Worms, Germany, Martin Luther, a 37 year-old Catholic monk was called to defend himself before Charles the Fifth, the Holy Roman Emperor. The speech he delivered that day, Here I Stand, marked the beginning of the Reformation, a critical turning point in Christian history that decisively altered the spiritual map of the world. In this recording, Max McLean introduces the events leading up to the Diet of Worms; Martin Luther’s prayer the night before he delivered his speech; Luther’s stirring defense; the Catholic church’s rebuttal; and, Luther’s final heartfelt response.

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