“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh,when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.”
(Reference: Psalms 27:1-3 )
When I first read this verse, I was eating some homemade vegetable soup. It had not simmered for hours, but was flash-cooked so the vegetable were still firm and retained all their flavor. The broth was made of a simple bullion cube and just a touch of sea salt. It was a meal made in a hurry but eaten with great enjoyment. It was comforting, warm, and eminently sufficient for my needs at the time. And so it reminded me of God’s presence – with us in an instant but ready to nourish us and sustain us. Simple and basic, but full of potency. Not mushy or soft, but strong and bold. God’s presence fortifies us against whatever may come.
According to the editors of the book we are drawing scripture from, the Psalmist’s confidence in the Lord became the historic Anabaptist’s confidence in the Lord. Van den Velde wrote to his wife while he was in prison. Part of one of his letters containing the following; “We must cast our care on the Lord, who cares for us; for He permitted Israel to suffer hunger, to prove them whether they loved Him or not, and to try whether they should be patient. . . Therefore, my much beloved sister in the Lord, though we must suffer for His sake, we must nevertheless possess our soul with patience, and remember that the apostle says: “That it is acceptable with God, to suffer for well doing.” 1 Pet. 2:20. . . . [And as they] say with David: “The Lord is my life and strength.” Ps. 27:1. . . . Hence, my much beloved wife and sister in the Lord, the world cannot partake of this comfort, because they do not believe in the Lord and thus deem the word of the cross foolishness. . . . My dear sister, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor. 15:58.”
My soup seemed to be more in tune with the scripture passage than the writings of den Velde, but the historic Anabaptists probably did not have the ease in their lives to enjoy dining and their lives concerns more pressing than meals. Modern Mennonites by contrast can spend great amounts of time cooking and creating recipes, but tend to be simple in meal preparation and in very recent times have gone back to simple, basic foods using more vegetables and local foods in meals. In the same way, both historic and modern Anabaptists/Mennonites tend to have basic faith tenets and rely on scripture to direct their faith and spiritual lives. Reliance on God and Christ is paramount.
So if I tell you beloved eat more homemade vegetable soup, what I am meaning is depend on God for your needs; rely on the presence and strength of the Lord; do not complicate your life with worries and concerns that cause you upset; nourish your spirit on the wholesomeness of the Lord. And do not be afraid, because your God will sustain you. Selah!