Thy strong word did cleave the darkness;
At Thy speaking it was done.
For created light we thank Thee,
While Thine ordered seasons run. (LSB 578, v. 1)
Alleluia, alleluia! Praise to Thee who light dost send!
Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia without end! (refrain)
Recently I have found a new interest in something I would never have dreamed of being interested in: lifting. You can thank Kim Salander for this one! I have always been a weak person. I don’t know if it is because of the way God built my body, or if it is because I never lift anything heavy. I did have two older brothers and now a husband who get to do the heavy lifting, after all! Despite that, I now lift, and I seem to keep breaking personal records almost every time I go to gym. I will not say I am a strong person, not yet at least! But as I keep going to the gym consistently, I continue to be strengthened.
Research has also shown that people who lift are more healthy, and their ailments heal better and quicker. That is why physical therapy has a lot of strength exercises (maybe no barbells, but strength exercises nonetheless.)
When I traveled to Ethiopia I was unable to work out. I found doing squats on the plane was not very appropriate, and when I was spending all hours awake working or touring there was no time for pushups. I found I lost a lot of strength that I had built up over the three months previous.
It struck me what a great metaphor lifting has to our faith walks. Think about it. The Bible is the weights. The more we remain steadfast to and in God’s Word through daily scripture reading, weekly Church (where we hear and receive Christ himself), the more we are strengthened and certain of our salvation. When we fail to be strengthened, Satan steps in and tries to steal us away from the faith.
From the cross Thy wisdom shining
Breaketh forth in conqu’ring might;
From the cross forever beameth
All Thy bright redeeming light. (v. 4)
However, there is one area where the metaphor does not quite work: we don’t have to spiritually “lift”. God does all the lifting for us, we just receive the benefits when we hear the Word of God. When we go to the spiritual “gym” (the Word and Sacraments) we don’t have to sweat, breathe heavy, or even strain. God does all of that for us. He did the hard work by dying on the cross for our sins. Now we just get to sit back and take in all the good things for us! Thy, Word, oh Lord, is strong!
Thy strong word bespeaks us righteous;
Bright with Thine own holiness,
Glorious now, we press toward glory,
And our lives our hopes confess. (v. 5)