“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”Matthew 6:25
This past Sunday (Trinity XV), I preached on the Gospel account, Matthew 6:24-34. There, our Lord preached to the anxious and encourages the Christian. One of the resources I stumbled across while preparing the sermon was a letter from Martin Luther to Matthias Weller, October 7, 1534.
Matthias was an organist and church musician. When Luther heard that Matthias was suffering from melancholy, he wrote a letter to him.Luther encouraged Matthias to find comfort in Christ and His gift of music. I think Luther’s words might encourage us when we are down too. Here is a portion of Luther’s letter to the good organist.
“Dear Matthias, do not dwell on your own thoughts, but listen to what other people have to say to you. For God has commanded men to comfort their brethren, and it is his will that the afflicted should receive such consolation as God’s very own. Thus our Lord speaks through St. Paul, “Comfort the fainthearted,” [I Thess 5:14] and through Isaiah: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people. Speak ye comfortably” [Isa. 40:8, 9]. And elsewhere our Lord indicated that it is not his will that man should be downcast, but that he should rather serve the Lord with gladness [Deut. 28:47] and not offer him the sacrifice of sorrow. All this Moses and the prophets declared often and in many places. Our Lord also commanded us not to be anxious [Matt. 6:25], but to cast our cares upon him, for he careth for us [I Peter 5:7], as St. Peter taught from Psalm 55….
“When you are sad, therefore, and when melancholy threatens to get the upper hand, say: “Arise! I must play a song unto the Lord on my regal [ie, portable organ] (be it the ‘Te Deum Laudamus’ or the ‘Benedictus’, for the Scriptures teach us that it pleases him to hear a joyful song and the music of stringed instruments.” Then begin striking the keys and singing in accompaniment, as David and Elisha did [II Kings 3:14, 15], until your sad thoughts vanish. If the devil returns and plants worries and sad thoughts in your mind, resist him manfully and say, “Begone devil! I must now play and sing unto my Lord Christ.”
SOURCE: Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel. Theodore G. Tappert, trans. and ed. Regent College Publishing, Vancouver, British Columbia:1960. Pgs. 96-97.