During a four month exchange to the U.S. I came across a hymn which has pretty much become my favourite. The hymn “If you but trust in God to guide you” was written in 1641 by Georg Neumark and comes to us in English by the prolific translator of German hymns Catherine Winkworth. The hymn was written during the 30 year war which ravaged Central Europe during the first half of the 17th century. Georg a young musician and administrator was robbed and lost nearly everything when travelling from Gotha to Kiel on the Baltic coast. The only piece of his possessions he was left with was a collection of recommendations from his former position in Gotha. He had lost nearly everything but due to these letters he was finally able to secure a position as a teacher in Kiel. And so he is able to write,
Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving,
Offer your service faithfully,
And trust His word; though undeserving,
You’ll find His promise true to be;
God never will forsake in need
The soul that trusts in Him indeed.
Today’s readings have a similar tone to them. They speak of the broken and hurting world we see around us today – but they hold onto the assurance of God’s faithfulness.
Today as we part ways it is my prayer that you will continue to “approach the house of God with a true heart in full assurance of faith” as the letter to the Hebrews puts it: You here in Pound Hill, Worth and Maidenbower, and I in Shoreham. Let’s continue to sing, pray and offer our service faithfully. Amen.