Meditation 14: Psalm 118.14-24 (Easter Day)

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.

Psalm 118.14-24

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

On Maundy Thursday we reflected upon the fourth of the psalms traditionally recited at the Passover meal, today we read from the last of that group of psalms, the one recited as an accompaniment to the drinking of the final cup of celebratory wine.

As with Psalm 22, many phrases from this psalm appear in the gospel narrative and are familiar to us.

If you read beyond today’s verses from Psalm 118 you will find the words shouted by the crowds as Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and repeated at our celebrations of Holy Communion: Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

Today’s reading from the book of Psalms is a cry of vindication and victory at the end of the journey we know as Holy Week.

Just one week ago we joined in the shouts of Hosanna (a Hebrew word meaning ‘save now’), today we can be certain that our prayer has been answered.

In such recent days we have plummeted to the depths of the human condition, sharing in those moment when the psalms cry of our human despair of feeling totally abandoned by God.

Today it is different as we join with the psalmist in rejoicing in the Lord’s strength and might.

Today we revel in the elation engendered by the certainty of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

As we read today’s psalm we cannot help but get caught up in the sheer excitement of the poetry as one glorious phrase leads into another.

Then, as we come to the last verse, we do not only reach a poetic climax but we arrive at the words that should be at the hearts of every moment of journey of faith: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!