One: This is the day that God has made,
All: Let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118: 24)
Over the last few Sundays, this Psalm has been read in worship. In it are the palm branches of Palm/Passion Sunday waved in praise to God (v. 27-28) and the affirmation of the rejected stone (Jesus) becoming God’s kingdom cornerstone (v. 22-23).
It affirms for all who would hear:
Give thanks to the Lord, because God is good,
God’s love endures for ever! (v. 1-4, 29).
This affirmation of love is one that I am grateful for. It is present in moments of joy but also in those times of loss, distress and fear. It weaves together our relationships, including our interconnected-ness with all of Creation. It speaks of love as greater than death, the heart of the message of Easter.
In my imagination I hear the whisper of God in the coldness and darkness of the tomb early that Sunday morning:
It is time.
You did well my Son.
These last few weeks are very emotional for me as I live a profound personal goodbye to SouthWest: the final Good Friday service and community meal at the Mission, confirmation and Easter celebration, preparing to move the office to the church and transitioning programs to the local Community center. Twenty years have flown by and I live such profound gratitude for so many blessings and so much love. This love sustains me in these deep transitions.
“This is the day that God has made” is not only for the joyful times. It resonates in the sadness of death, in the coldness of the tomb and the inevitable goodbyes that occur in our lives. It is an affirmation of a constant for us: that God is in our midst, that love is everlasting, that we are created to live in relationships and not in isolation.
An Easter hymn says:
Because you live, O Christ,
the garden of the world has come to flower,
the darkness of tomb is flooded with your resurrected power.
The stone has rolled away and death cannot imprison.
O sing this Easter Day,
for Jesus Christ has risen, has risen, has risen!!
(Shirley Murray, 1984, VU 178)
I affirm love and wrap myself in its warmth like a hand stitched quilt, and am calmed and held in its grace.
May the stone be rolled from our hearts, our anxieties and fears.
May the whisper of God be life and hope to our lives.
May God bless endings with new beginnings for this is the day that God has made.