Pastor’s Letter for May 2024


Pastor Jim Martin of St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Weston, WV
Pastor Jim Martin

Psalm 46 has been on my mind and heart these past few weeks.  It speaks a wisdom to me that I need to hear and practice. I have read several translations of this Psalm.  One is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). The NRSV is the translation of St. Matthew’s pew bibles. I have also read it from The Tanakh, a translation by the Jewish Publication Society, and from a newer translation called the Common English Bible (CEB). The Tanakh and the CEB break open meaning that the NRSV does not accomplish for me.  Here’s the CEB’s version of Psalm 46.

God is our refuge and strength,
    a help always near in times of great trouble.
That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart,
    when the mountains crumble into the center of the sea,
    when its waters roar and rage,
    when the mountains shake because of its surging waves. Selah

There is a river whose streams gladden God’s city,
    the holiest dwelling of the Most High.
God is in that city. It will never crumble.
    God will help it when morning dawns.
Nations roar; kingdoms crumble.
    God utters his voice; the earth melts.
The Lord of heavenly forces is with us!
    The God of Jacob is our place of safety. Selah

Come, see the Lord’s deeds,
    what devastation he has imposed on the earth—
    bringing wars to an end in every corner of the world,
    breaking the bow and shattering the spear,
        burning chariots with fire.

10 “That’s enough! Now know that I am God!
    I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!”

11 The Lord of heavenly forces is with us!
    The God of Jacob is our place of safety. Selah

The world is a tumultuous place.  Waters roar, mountains shake, yet God is with us.  Nations roar, kingdoms crumble, the earth melts, yet God is our place of safety.  The Lord’s deeds?  What devastation God has wrought?  By bringing wars to an end: breaking the bow, shattering the spear, burning chariots – now that’s the kind of devastation I can tolerate!

Verse 10 in most English translations begins “Be still, and know that I am God.”  The Tanakh uses “Desist” rather than “Be still”.  The CEB above exclaims “That’s enough!”  Sounds like my mom when my brother and I would quarrel as little children.  This quarreling world needs to hear God’s word that says “That’s enough!  Now know that I am God!”  May we set aside our differences and set aside ourselves and know that God has had enough of humanity’s quarreling and fighting.

Peace, in Christ,

Pastor Jim