Read: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
I will not die, but live, and I will tell what the Lord has done.
This portion of Psalm 118 is a shout of triumph but it is not triumphalist. The psalmist has been through dark days. He thought he might not make it. He has learned a “hard lesson,” but lives to tell about it. The story is not about how he triumphed, but how God saved him from the day of trouble, to which he responds with praise. “I will tell what the Lord has done.” He opens with a common refrain that expresses how Israel was to understand the heart of God: “His love continues forever.” This is all about praising God’s everlasting love. He ends gathering the people together with him. “Let us rejoice and be glad today!”
Lent is over. Yesterday was the last day of Holy Week. It is as of we have been through the lament of Lent and are emerging from the other side full of hope.
COVID-19 has had us lamenting for over a year, compounded with new variants that are more virulent than what first emerged to plague the world. Yet as vaccines gain momentum, the beacon light of herd immunity begins to dawn on the horizon. This trial will not go on forever. There is hope.
A little less than a year ago the death of George Floyd galvanized the nation and brought into sharp focus the disparity between how black and white people are treated. The ghosts of our past have emerged in violent white-supremacist groups, even as we have wrestled with the unconscious ways in which we, too, have participated in our nation’s original sin. Yet the work is yielding fruit. The backlash from the events of January 6th show signs that most of us really do want to expand the national story to include the stories of people of color.
Oppression will not go on forever. There is hope.
If we are to take the pattern of this psalm as our own, then we must give thanks to God for bringing us through. Even our own efforts are made in the context of God’s never-ending love. In the end, we must all join together in praise, for a single voice just does not do the moment justice.
God of unending love, we lift our hearts in praise for the ways you are bringing us out of darkness into the light of love, faith, and justice. Amen.
-The Rev. Paul Moore