The Awakening of Hope
Psalm 118: 1-2, 14-24 (NIVUK)
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures for ever.
2 Let Israel say:
‘His love endures for ever.’
14 The Lord is my strength and my defence;
he has become my salvation.
15 Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
‘The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16 The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!’
17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.
Psalm 118 is a beautiful poem describing a sung liturgy in which a convert is received into the family of God through the witness of Israel. It’s a celebration of a personal awakening to the living God. A God whose steadfast love endures for ever and is available to all nations and peoples.
This psalm is a song of awakening, a song of gratitude for the discovery that God’s love is not bought or earned. It is given and can be received by individuals. Three groups of people stand with the covert outside the gates of the temple and each in turn proclaim the ancient creed rejoicing in this eternal covenant of love.
It reminds me of the witness of the Christian declaring perhaps in a service of confirmation or baptism to friends and relatives the amazing change of outlook knowing Jesus brings to our lives.
Paul in the letter to the Romans 8: 31 echoes the feeling of freedom and hope that is found throughout the thought of the whole psalm. Take a moment and think about the day you made your confession of faith in Jesus. Perhaps the day you walked with others through the gates from darkness to light, from fear to freedom. Sing out your response loudly wherever you are, saying “I give thanks to the Lord for he is good his steadfast love endures forever!”
My Story of Hope
My heart was breaking
My soul was crushed
I had made too many wrong turns
The darkness was closing in on me
My self importance
Had caught up with me
They were my travelling companions
They offered me no help
They constantly accused me
I was continually fending them off
Like a swarm of midges
Making rings all around me
They were in my hair
Biting me all over
Like stones in my shoes
Biting at my heels
Each step caused me pain
I was constantly agitated
In my distress I cried out
I called on the Love of God to have pity on me
And he heard me
He helped me
He saved me
It was an awakening to a new world
A new life
A new love
A new peace
I’m living to tell others
I’m a walking in the sun
This is my story of hope