March 25, 2020

Psalm 27

Posted by Marla Amborn on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Hello, welcome. I’m Pastor Marla from Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Almelund Minnesota. We’re here today for the second of our fireside chats coming to you from the fireside room at Immanuel Lutheran Church. I what to talk with you this afternoon about hope and ways to work together with one another and with God as we go through this challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As I’ve been thinking about this, my husband, Randy and I have joked about survival strategies. One of his survival strategies was to get some beer from the local brew pub, the Uncommon Loon, where his friend Brad Klatt is the brew master. He figured that would be a good survival strategy to help him through this time. I’ve been working on trying to plant a little garden, to grow some fresh vegetables. So far, I could use some help from some of our good gardeners. But that’s another survival strategy. I’ve also thought about my grandparents and ways that they survived World War II and the Great Depression. I remember my grandmother used to use a piece of tin foil hundreds of times with all those little creases in it. She’d keep washing it and flattening it out and using it over and over again. As it’s a little harder to get to the grocery store and the shelves are in short supply I can understand a bit more what prompted her to make good use of things over and over again like she did during those tough times.

One of the things I’ve thought about as a survival strategy is talking to people who have gone through tough times. As I thought about people who have survived really tough times one who came to my mind is our music director, Momoh Freeman. Momoh lived in Liberia, and at the time of the civil war in Liberia he was caught in the midst of all of that strife and ended up going to a refugee camp and then ultimately coming to the United States. I have found a lot of inspiration in is story. Those of you who know Momoh have likely also found his story to be inspiring. I thought it might be worth sharing a little bit from his experience with us here today.

Momoh and he reminded me that even though we are going through a tough time it could be worse. Yes, we are sheltering in place in Wisconsin and soon to be in Minnesota. We are trying to keep our social distance which is challenging to us. But at least there are no bombs dropping on our houses. There’s nobody shooting at us. There’s nobody looting our homes or our businesses. Although we battle a virus that is unseen but causing a lot of havoc, it’s not as bad as it could be. And that helps us put things in perspective during this really difficult time. One thing I’ve noticed about Momoh is his sense of calm and peace. He is unflappable. In addition to working at Immanuel he also works at a group home where he works with men who have mental challenges. His calming way is able to sooth those guys when there is a sense of anxiety and bring a sense of peace. I think that comes from an inner peace that he carries with him that is born out of the struggles that he went through in the refugee camp and during the time of the Liberian Civil War.

So, I asked him some questions and there’s really nothing like his own words. I’d like to share with you what he had to say:

Q: In what ways did your faith help you through it?

A: My faith helped me a lot. Before I left the refugee camp in Ghana I had faith that God would cover us. I leaned on God to protect us, and my faith got stronger.

Q: What did you do when you were frightened or worried?

A: I prayed, and it helped me a lot. It lifted my spirit up. It gave me courage to face the next day.

Then he told me about a Methodist Church and a Catholic Church that he played music for. They paid him and it gave him money that helped him survived. Also, the act of playing the music and accompanying a choir and hearing people sing uplifted his spirits and helped soothe his soul.

Q: How does your previous experience surviving such tough situations help you now?

A: Right now I’m taking precautions like everybody else, but I’m not really worried too about it.

Q: Where do you see God at work in our situation today?

A: Despite all that’s going on, there’s still hope. We can still go and get food. Some people are getting sick, but God is still watching over us. His grace and mercy are still covering us.

Q: What advice to you have for people facing this difficult situation today?

A: Hold on. Keep the faith. Ask God to protect you, to guide you and carry you through. Have the faith that he can to this.

Then we talked about the Bible and Scripture and how he found that to be helpful. He did a lot of Bible study during the time when he was in the refugee camp and he mentioned a few scripture passages that he found especially meaningful. One is that 23rd Psalm, which many of us know and love. A beautiful psalm of God’s protection, “The Lord in my shepherd…” Another, interestingly, was the book of Job. It is the story of a man who had one challenge after another, but God was with him through it all. The other, which is what I’d like to share with you today, is the 27th Psalm. It goes like this:

Psalm 27

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 evildoers assail me to devour my flesh— my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.

One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock….

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Psalm 27:1-5 & 13-14

These are good words for us to dwell on, to take courage, to not be afraid. God is with us through this most trying of times.

I also asked Momoh about music and how music was uplifting to him and helpful to him that he was going through all of this in the refugee camp. He named a couple of songs that were helpful, but one in particular that he mentioned goes by the title “No Not One.”

Some of the lyrics go:

No Not One

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,

No, not one! No, not one!

None else could heal all our soul’s diseases,

No, not one! No, not one!

Jesus knows all about our struggles,

He will guide till the day is done;

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,

No, not one! No, not one!

Those lyrics speak to me at this time. I hope they speak to you as well.

Momoh played that song and sang it and recorded it. That is available on Facebook as a Momoh Moment at

He plans to continue recording pieces for our inspiration to lift up our hearts and souls throughout this time.

Let’s pray: Loving God, we ask your comfort to be with us for all who are struggling during this difficult time. We thank you for the perspective of one who has lived through a tough time and the ways that that can bring a sense of peace and calm to all of us now. We ask you to be at work in our lives and in the world, working for good, caring for all who are in need of your special care, bring healing where it is needed and bring hope to us all. We pray together in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Let’s pray the Lord’s Prayer…

We are planning to continue these fireside chats at 3:00 Central time on Wednesdays and worship services at 9:30 Central time on Sundays. You can find them on:

Marla Amborn’s Facebook Page

The Facebook page for Immanuel Lutheran Church, Almelund

Immanuel’s website,

Closing blessing from Psalm 27:

Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage,

wait for the Lord.