In Psalm 121 we are given this promise: “Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (v. 4). This is reassuring to us as we experience hardship. Our God is not a God afar off, but a God near at hand (Jeremiah 23:23). Taking inspiration from passages such as this, the German Lutheran Pastor Paul Gerhardt wove together the hymn, “Evening and Morning” in 1666. Though he wrote it as a morning hymn, it is a perfect hymn for times of difficulty. In the third stanza we sing, “Ills that still grieve me soon are to leave me; though billows tower and winds gain power, after the storm the fair sun shows its face.” That is our confidence. The current storm will end, and we will again see the glorious sun. But that is more than an earthly promise; it is an eternal one as well. “When in His mansions God grants me a place,” all of this will be in the past, and I will understand perfectly how God cared for me in this life.
Before reading on, enjoy listening to an arrangement of this hymn:
Before you start to read, take a minute and listen to Johann Sebastian Bach's beautiful harmonization of the Lenten hymn, "A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth."
(A little plug before I continue. If you click on the picture of the man at the piano on the video above, it will take you to his YouTube channel. He has recorded all of The Lutheran Hymnal on piano. His playing is excellent, and is good for devotional use if you like to have something to sing with!)
This is the question we all ask when we see something different, especially in church. Why are we using white instead of red? Why does this day have a name? Why did the Pastor do what he just did?