About Glad Streams

It is true that “Glad Streams” does sound a bit like something to do with the internet, and that is partly by design. The electronic journal is a stream of sorts but it exists in a richer contest. Psalm 46, from which this idea arises, sets up a  contrast between the tumult and fear we experience living in the fallen creation and the security believers anticipate in the divine protection.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
(Psalm 46:1-3 ESV)

God has a personal interest in his people. He is not far away, but he is close at hand, “a very present help in trouble.” This is present tense. We are thinking about what God is doing in the here and now.

So the earth “gives way?” That sounds serious. This business about the mountains falling into the sea is a bit troubling, but God’s people are not to be afraid no matter how bad things get. That’s faith. It does not necessarily make sense in a worldly rational way, but it is perfectly reasonable if one accepts the possibility of a spiritual world that surrounds us. That is something for you to consider. Meanwhile, the tenor of this Psalm is about to change. “Selah” means that the musicians ought to play for a minute or so.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
(Psalm 46:4-5 ESV)

This is something like going to a movie. The producers fliped the scene from mass destruction to a placid river. The Psalmist changes our orientation. He makes us look forward, which is always a good idea. Christians are expectantly waiting for the New Heavens and the New Earth. OK, you really sharp readers have already noticed, from the biblical text, that it is the city which is glad. Look at it this way; the streams made the city glad, so the streams must have been glad as well. Don’t you think? So, indeed, it is reasonable to refer to “Glad Streams.”

The point is that God is with his people. He is “in the midst of her.” Furthermore, “she shall not be moved.” God cares. He is close at hand. The current world is full of violence and disorder, but the Christian life is oriented toward the heavenly city.That’s the “end game.”

In the meantime, we have a job to do in this often unstable world system. It is sometimes called the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20), and that means that Christians should be missionaries before anything else. It is our calling to reach out to all people’s in the “majority world” and even pagan America. Jesus tells the disciples that he has been given “all authority.” In other words, “the God of Jacob is with us.”

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
(Psalm 46:6-7 ESV)

Jesus promised to be with his followers as they stumble through this dangerous mortal sphere. He also promised to send, “the Spirit of Truth” (Jn 14:15-17). The world economy may fall into the sea and terror may rule across the glove, but we have not been left orphans.

God is a fortress? Ah, “Selah.” Cue the musicians.A mighty fortress is our God

A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing.
Our helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe.
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing,
Were not the right man on our side,
The man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He.
Lord Sabboth, his name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.,

All of this sounds rather militaristic – nations raging, battles and forts. It’s a good thing we are not in it alone.This blog is about society, culture, morals, ethics, the world around us and how Christians are to live in it. This deals with individuals, but it also has to do with each individual as a member of the Universal Church. Some general ideas will be proposed and you are invited to join the discussion. If you find an opinion in the posts, it is mine alone and does not represent the position of any church organization or institution. My name is Pat Lynch and I am an Anglican, a Licensed Lay Catechist, and hold a Master of Ministry from the Anglican School of Ministry. My title is Executive Director of Christian Foundations for Ministry, Inc, pending 501(c)3 designation by the IRS. This is not a scholarly conversation, but a mere reflection on happenings in modern culture.

This brings us back to the imagery of  “glad streams.” That speaks to a promise for God’s people. But a part of it is active in the present age. The Triune God put on flesh and joined us as a human being – fully human, fully divine. Things are changing. Death has been defeated and sins atoned. Satan has been dealt a decisive humiliation and he is working on borrowed time. Jesus ascended bodily into heaven where he sits on the throne of David. The Church on earth is now joined with Jesus and all the forces of heaven as the Mystical Body of Christ. The Bride of Christ is being prepared for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Things are moving forward, even if it is not apparent.

As we try to figure out the confusing culture and every day conflicts, the focus is on the future world. While we are following Christ’s instructions to teach and baptize, there is always an eager expectation of the heavenly city and a river described by John.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
(Revelation 22:1-5 ESV)

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