Daily Hymn Project: Easter Edition. Week 3, Psalm 118

In the morning I (Matthew) will often rise, go into my home office and begin the day. But before long my wife and three year old come upstairs and instantly put on some music. This music breaks the silence that I enjoy in these early morning hours, but every single morning this music they start their day with is a hymn. My wife started this project of listening to one hymn together with our daughter daily for an entire month. Listening to the same song every morning is could feel repetitive, but it doesn't seem that way for us and our daughter. By the second week she's singing along and learning the faith at the same time. 

When Cabe and I sat down and thought about our hopes for V+B one goal was making resources for families, single persons, or groups of adults. Often this kind of thing revolves around a bible reading program, and while these things can be great, we've always thought about the challenge of getting words and prayers inside our bones and guts not just in our heads. The practice of singing hymns seemed like a great place to start.

So each month we'll take a hymn and provide a short bible study for each week. We figured there was no better time to start than with Easter, and the glorious news that Christ is risen. 

Sing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" (Charles Wesley)

Christ the Lord is ris'n today alleluia
Sons of men and angels say alleluia
Raise your joys and triumphs high alleluia
Sing ye heavens and earth reply alleluia

Lives again our glorious King alleluia
Where O death is now thy sting alleluia
Dying once He all doth save alleluia
Where thy victory O grave alleluia

Love's redeeming work is done alleluia
Fought the fight the battle won alleluia
Death in vain forbids Him rise alleluia
Christ has opened paradise alleluia

Soar we now where Christ has led alleluia
Following our exalted Head alleluia
Made like Him like Him we rise alleluia
Ours the cross the grave the skies alleluia

Vain the stone the watch the seal alleluia
Christ hath burst the gates of hell alleluia
Death in vain forbids His rise alleluia
Christ hath opened paradise alleluia

Read Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.
Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
They swarmed around me like bees,
    but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.
Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
    The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.
The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes.
The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.
Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.
The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
    up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will praise you;
    you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever. (Psalm 118, NIV)

Devotional

For me it often happens that I am reading a book or watching a movie and I wonder: how's it all going to end? Are the lead characters going to fall in love, is the hero going to win, will the team rally in time? Most books and movies try to surprise us with the conclusion - they want us to feel genuinely unsure about the outcome until just about the very last scene. 

Psalm 118 proclaims for us the ending of the story of the universe: it will end in love, because God's love endures forever. As Christians we may be tempted to wonder when it is all doing to end, but because of Easter and the resurrection we should rarely feel the need to ask how is it going to end. The resurrection shows us how far God will go to save his people with this love that endures forever. 

Of course we still might have troubles and trials along the way - the author of Psalm 118 surely knows that life can be difficult - but because he knows how it all ends he can be confident with where he is. 

Sometimes we may wonder about where our life is going, or what decision to make in this or that situation. But meanwhile God's plan and purpose has already been made known to us in both his enduring love and his victory over the grave. 

Group with Adults

The end of the story of the universe is love! Who is someone in your life who needs to hear that message this week, and what's one way you can share it? 

Group with Kids

Think of someone who is sad or struggling at the moment. Take some time to write a card to that person to remind them that God's love lasts forever.