Today’s Author: Steve Sveom

William Sangster

The story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16:16-40 shows us these two followers of Christ in prison after having been publicly beaten.  Their response may astound us.  About midnight, they were praying and singing hymns to God as other prisoners listened to them.  Singing hymns might not be my first response to being beaten and locked up.  But listen to this story about William Sangster, a Methodist pastor of a church in London that was used as a bomb shelter during World War 2.  

For over 1000 nights he provided ministry and comfort, physical, spiritual, and emotional support to all who gathered at the Church for refuge.  In 1958 he was diagnosed with an incurable condition that caused progressive muscular atrophy.  Over the next 2 ½ years he lost the use of his body and even his voice until only 2 fingers could move.  He wrote to communicate as long as he could.  On Easter, just a few weeks before his death, he wrote, “How terrible to wake up on Easter and have no voice to shout, ‘He is risen!’  Far worse, to have a voice and not want to shout.”

In the worst of conditions, faith may compel us to shout, “He is risen!”  In our darkest circumstances, we may be drawn to pray and sing hymns as Paul and Silas did.  In the midst of the real, we are drawn to prayer and praise.  ELW hymn #763, My Life Flows On in Endless Song also known as How Can I Keep from Singing expresses this compelling faith.

My life flows on in endless song; above earth’s lamentation,
I catch the sweet, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.

Refrain: No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.  
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing.

Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear that music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul.  How can I keep from singing?  Refrain

What though my joys and comforts die? The Lord my Savior liveth. 
What though the darkness gather round?  Songs in the night he giveth.  Refrain

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart, a fountain ever springing! 
All things are mine since I am his!  How can I keep from singing?  Refrain

“Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday contact Pastor Peter.