Enduring Love: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Hosanna. “Save us, we beseech you, O Lord” (v 25). This scene in the Psalm, lived out in the gospels as Jesus entered Jerusalem, has as its “sound track” the combined cries of praise and prayers for salvation. This is our experience of Lent in a nutshell. We enter the discipline of Lent with humble hearts, asking for forgiveness and restoration from the Christ who is about to be executed; yet, we remember from last year’s cycle that, indeed, salvation comes. This is not just a Lenten dichotomy; it is life itself.
Our praise pulls along some pleading, and our pleading anticipates praise in response to answered prayer. This is honest, inevitable, and human. Verse 24 tells us, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” This is at the heart of our dichotomy. This day, even if it includes difficulties and darkness, is the day the Lord has made. This day, even when it calls us to examine ourselves before God and we come up short, is the day the Lord has made. In spite of our inconsistencies, the sun continues to rise, and the Lord keeps on making new days and inviting us into them. God brings the dawn even on our dark days. God’s gift is the promise of a new day in which hope rises with the sun.
Verse 28 can be used as a prayer in protest on days when such a prayer is needed. It is a simple prayer that can be prayed into our darkness. It is a prayer that can be shouted in frustration and cried in despair. It is similar to Psalm 22:1, which Jesus prayed from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Pray the determination and stubbornness of Psalm 118:28 when you are angry with God or feel alone. Lent is a time of restored honesty with God, and God can handle it.
His steadfast loves endures forever. However much we would like to channel that love into a change agent in life’s hard circumstances, we finally rely on what it is, and rest in it. His steadfast love endures forever. It endures our distraction away from God. It endures our indifference and our doubts. It suffers with us and rejoices with us, and accepts our praise and our protest. His steadfast love endures forever.
And then the worn thin church word “forever” finally gets our notice. His steadfast love endures forever. It doesn’t miss a beat, even in death, no matter what or whose death it is-our dreams, a loved one, our own, even Jesus. His steadfast love endures forever. Go ahead; enter into life “in the name of the Lord.” His steadfast love endures forever.
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord” (v 26a). That is Jesus; that is Jesus in us. What a blessing to know that whatever we walk into, it can be said of us, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” Peace and strength come with us, even if pain rides along. Forgiveness and grace surround us, even if frustration is in the air.
“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” (v 29).
Thank you, Lord, for your steadfast love that endures forever.
A word about the series
The Lenten season has always inspired many people to create everything from poems, art and music to a completely new direction in their lives. This Lenten season Tabernacle will be exploring many of those creations in the hope of inspiring you to compose in a medium that is natural for you. The paintings in the Sanctuary are of the Biblical Stations of the Cross. The artist, Grieg Leach, completed them in 2010. They will help us to visualize the events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus. In addition to the paintings there is a Lenten devotional booklet, Return to Me, which is available in print or online. The Stations of the Cross also inspired these devotions, written by Terry York of Baylor University. Living with these two bodies of artistic expression based on the Biblical Stations of the Cross throughout the season of Lent should help us as we seek to return our lives to God by walking with Jesus though his final days.
Pray, read, think and return to God.
All scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible.
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