Light in the Darkness

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O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! ~Psalm 118:1

For many people of faith, one of the first things we want to do in uncertain times is to gather together to pray. As orders to shelter at home and for the doors of the church building to close for the health safety of its members we are left wondering where God is in all of this. With each passing day, things feel more uncertain, more and more fearful, causing tensions to rise. In our panic, we begin trying to seek out things that we can control in a time that everything feels so out of our control. One thing I keep hearing is that none of us have ever seen anything like this in our lifetime. We have to look back into history to the Spanish flu in the 1920s and Choera of the 1800s to find anything of comparison.

I read a post this morning where a question was asked of a Rabbi during a natural disaster to explain such a tragic act of God. The rabbi answered that the disaster was an act of nature. The act of God happened when people stepped us to help each other.

Where is God in all of this? What is the Good News in the midst of all our uncertainties? Where is the Light of God in the Midst of our Darkness?

The answer comes to us through the words of Psalm 118. “Hosanna! Save us! Blessed is the one that comes in the name of the Lord!” This is a reminder that God has acted in the past, has saved us from ourselves in the past, and God will save us again!

Even in our distance from each other, we can still come together as a community united in prayer. We can find comfort, peace and even moments of joy.

In its ancient context, Psalm 118 was most likely an entrance liturgy to the Temple, used at the festival of the Passover. It proclaimed God’s deliverance from Egypt and, later on, from the Exile.

Sine New Testament times, Psalm 118 evokes for Christians the story of Easter.

“Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
What can mortals do to me?” (118:5-6).

New Testament writers used Psalm 118 “as a means of understanding and articulating the significance of Jesus.” (See Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7.) Christians have long read this Psalm with Jesus in mind.

“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

Today, the words of Psalm 118 gives us hope as people of faith to celebrate God’s faithfulness. God was with us in the beginning. God is with us now. God will be with us always. The words in this Psalm remind us that God’s love is steadfast and endures forever. They remind us that God gave us God’s Light to shine in and through the darkness and that God’s light will never go away! The very words of Psalm 118 give us hope and stir our hearts and our souls to celebrate! They unify us! They remind us that we are God’s children! And remember being God’s children means that we are never alone.

Even in our anxiety and fear, we can celebrate that our God is still working.

We celebrate the hope, the security, the trust that we have as people of faith because we know that in the midst of our darkness, we find the Light of God. Because the Light of God never goes away.

If you listen to the news, they tell us to brace for a rough week ahead. I want to remind you that the churches may stand empty today, they may stand empty on Easter morning, but remember so is Christ’s tomb. This epidemic will not cancel Easter. Easter has already happened.

So we still celebrate because our God’s saving grace is steadfast and endures forever. The Light of God shines in this darkness, giving us strength and courage for the journey ahead. The Light of God is for all of God’s children, bringing peace, bringing hope, bringing grace. The Light of God fills us, renews us, lifts us up, and connects as one. Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Our God has answered our pleas and has given us salvation!

Dear God, even in these days, help us to remember your promises. Help us be unified in our prayers, even when COVID-19 seems to keep us separated. Fill our homes with your Holy Spirit in such a way that we know you are near. Restore us to health, God, restore us to life and give us hope. Amen.

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