April 17, 2014

Rejoice! Sing!

By Hillary Harder, a senior music and Spanish double major from Wichita, Kan.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

The heading above this passage in my Bible reads “A song of victory.” Indeed, when I read this passage at least two songs come to mind whose words are based on the text of this psalm. These are words of joy, triumph and praise – they are practically crying out to be sung aloud! It is unclear what “punishment” the psalmist has just been through: perhaps a period of darkness in his or her life, a time of struggle or depression, a close encounter with death. Maybe instead of the gate of righteousness, the psalmist had found him or herself facing other gates, and just narrowly missed entering and having the door close behind. Maybe, like the stone rejected by the builders, the writer has experienced feeling worthless and cast-off. Or perhaps the psalmist had simply wandered far from God’s presence. Whatever the case, the saving power of God’s steadfast love is enough to make the psalmist want to tell the world about this victory!

Our theme for this week is “Go and tell.” In this psalm, we are reminded that an essential part of encountering God is sharing that encounter with everyone who will listen. This passage is a song, and the psalmist is inviting us to sing along. Not only does he or she proclaim the everlasting love of the Lord, the psalmist also exhorts Israel to do the same. After experiencing near defeat, the psalmist is ecstatic that he or she is going to live – and will fully embrace that life by “recounting the deeds of the Lord” that have led to it. This and every day are gifts to us from our God of love, and how do we respond? Rejoice! Sing! Go and tell about it!

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 (NRSV)

A Song of Victory

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever!

Let Israel say,
‘His steadfast love endures for ever.’
The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
‘The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.’
I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me severely,
but he did not give me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

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Comments (1)

  1. Personal to Hilary: Thanks for your meditation.Being a senior may be an
    exciting time for you, especially if you have a clear notion about what comes
    next in your life.

    On the chance that you might still be decidiing what’s next, might I recommend
    being a “service adventure” young person assigned to Albuquerque Mennonite
    Church, in ABQ, New Mexico. If you want some additional education, perhaps
    the Universerity of New Mexico could be of interest. She will soon be gone until
    after July 4th, but after that time you could talk with Dr. Jill Morford who teaches
    at the UNM campus and is active at AMC. Her e-mail address is:
    morford@unm.edu Blessings on you wherever your path takes you!

    Norm Morford April 17, 2014 |