Marvin Repinski: Deliver us from evil

Published 5:38 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

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Throughout their religious life, many people share in private or often in services of worship the prayer attributed to Jesus:  “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…….”   

The words “deliver us from evil” may speak to us; a petition for the present time. Is the most defining term, rage?  Each of us may identify with a particular trait, behavior, practice, or manner that circles the world. Round and round these energies all let loose.

The news media has also already had commentary on the ugly scenes in Memphis, Tennessee. We are soaking in the memory of so many worldwide tragedies. Each of us live with hearts that almost literally bleed.

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A few lines from the Bible, Luke 6:27-36, reach out to all who will read, will listen, will apply.

Jesus said, “I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat, do not withhold even your shirt.  Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them.  If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners do the same.  If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.  Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

For another writing, I may reflect on the manner, opportunities, and gifts sent by heaven to the reality of evil, and I intend to identify and from my limited years, point out ways that the prayer “deliver us from evil” can be received.

Reading in the book “The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader,” edited by David L. Lewis, some of the chapters came to me like streaks of lightning. Among them is a brief life of Zora Neale Hurston. Educated at Howard University, she blazed a trail of help in the lines “Deliver Us From Evil.”

These are words that fasten to my emotions of chapel services at Augsburg College and Yale University. Similar memories are from my formative years. Ms. Hurston, as a student, wrote, “I shall never forget my first college assembly, sitting there in the chapel of that great university. I was so exalted that I said to the spirit of Howard. You have taken me in. I am a tiny bit of your greatness. I swear to you that I shall never make you ashamed of me.”

A friend of mine recently conversed about the plight of the world, the nasty behaviors, the conflicts, and even wars. Part of the exchanges resulted from the current seemingly insane tactics of the actions of people placed in positions to assure us of a secure, safe and proud community.

The following references may hollow our hearts. They are contributions of the scriptures (guidelines), to living lives of peace and compassion:

The future uncertain?

Romans: 8-31-39; Matthew: 6:25-34; Psalm 121

Need Forgiveness?

Psalm 51; Romans 7:19-25; Luke 15; Philemon

Anxious for loved ones?

John 15:9-17; Psalm 121; Luke 7


Philippians 4:8-13; Psalms 40, 90; Hebrews 12

Worried about money?

Matthew 6:19-34; 1 Timothy 6:6-12; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 19: 11-27; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Corinthians 9:6-11

Lonely or afraid?

Psalms 23, 27, 91; 1 Peter 4


Psalms 42, 43, 130, 23


Matthew 11:28-30


James 5:7-11


Psalm 46; Matthew 6:25-34

Staying awake nights?

Psalms 4, 56, 130

Sick or in pain?

Psalm 6, 39, 41