“Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.” These words, the first two verses of Psalm 118, were the last thing I saw when I went to sleep and the first thing I saw when I woke up as a child. They quietly, patiently, hung on the wall at the foot of my bed in the form of a simple cross-stitch my grandma had given me.
In addition to the pure utility of this passage — being the only Bible verse I had memorized when I was in elementary school — this verse has also been a holy reminder to me for all these years. God is good, and we should not forget that. If nothing else, we must trust that God is good.
However, as I have grown, left my home and that small wall hanging, the lens through which I see God has also grown. Now, not only do I trust that God is good, but I know why I believe that.
The Psalm says, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” And how marvelous it is! Not only did God choose the rejected people of Israel in the Old Testament, but again and again God used that which was scoffed at by society to do the holiest of work — Mary, a woman both young and poor, wicked rulers, lowly shepherds, children, lepers and Jesus, who was himself a homeless, wandering, outspoken, dirty radical.
In this season of Lent, in the midst of all of the pain and suffering in our world, I give thanks to the Lord that our God acts in unexpected ways. Just as Jesus was shunned by the masses yet rose again and lives as our Cornerstone, I pray that those on the margins will be received by their oppressors as the cornerstone and help us all to rise again with a new love, new life and new understanding of what it means to do God’s work and live into God’s Beloved Community.
his steadfast love endures for ever!
Let Israel say,
‘His steadfast love endures for ever.’
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.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,
and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures for ever.