This is our final post. The 91st post is an extra "bonus" post that will allow us to finish the final two psalms and end our survey on a note of hope. Thanks for joining us for this journey through the psalms. (MK)
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up to the Lord!
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give Him thanks and praise!
CONFESSION OF FAITH
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
MEDITATION | Hebrews 2:10–13
"For it was fitting that he [Christ], for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
“I will put my trust in him.”
SING Psalm 134 (to the tune of the Doxology)
[Original lyrics by Lambertus J. Lamberts (1928), edited by Daniel J Snoke (2022)]
Come bless the LORD with one accord
You faithful servants of the LORD
Who in his house do stand by night
And praise him there with all your might
Lift up your hands and bless his name
From Zion may his blessings reign
The LORD who heav’n and earth has made
Bless you and keep you all your days
Psalm 149 & 150
I Peter 1:3-9
Psalms 149 and 150 are two short psalms which continue crescendo of praise at the end of the book. "Praise, the LORD!" is a refrain that rings again and again. This is very fitting as we conclude our time of seeking to be renewed in worship.
In a similar way, Peter begins his NT epistle with the phrase, "Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" The reason for his praise is well suited to Easter Sunday.
(I Peter 1:3) "He has caused us to be born again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
The resurrection of Jesus is a cause for hope for everyone who trusts Christ and is united to him in faith. This hope means that we have an inheritance (I Peter 3:4) that cannot be taken away and that God, himself is guarding.
The future hope of complete restoration in the New Heavens and the New Earth (Rev 20-22) is the foundation of the Christian life. But our hope is not only for this great future day. Because we have been "born again" - already - God's Spirit is working in our lives and working for our good.
This past week we have spent time reflecting on the difficulties of the past two years. We have expressed sorrow in lament. We have expressed thankfulness for God's grace and for the way he has used people to bless us. Today, I would like to ask you to consider a third word, "hope." Hope is a forward looking word. As we see in I Peter 1, it fixes itself most completely on the final renewal that Jesus will bring on his return. But, God has promised to be at work in the world now. He has gifted us for ministry (1 Cor 12), he has empowered us by his Spirit (Gal 5), he has prepared good works for us to walk in (Eph 2:10), and he has commissioned his church to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:18-20.)
As we round into spring there are new opportunities ahead for our congregation as a whole and for each of us individually. Would you spend some time considering how God may be directing you to walk forward in renewed faith:
- How is God calling you to invest your energy more intentionally in Christian relationships which build you up in faith?
- How is God calling you into a deeper and more regular experience of worship?
- How is God calling you to reach out to your neighbors around you?
- How is God directing you use your gifts for service in the church?
Consider sharing some of these ideas with friends and family. And, as before, we would love to hear from you. Please send your thoughts and reflections to Nameun (Nameun@cityreformed.org.)
Thanks for joining s for this 90-day (plus 1) journey through the psalms. It has been a privilege to share this experience with you all.
SING: Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father
And to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning
Is now and ever shall be world without end
Many Christians throughout history have found it helpful to dedicate extra time for prayer, fasting, singing, and works of mercy during the week before Easter Sunday. As you anticipate remembering the saving work of Christ this weekend, here are a few ways you might do that:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever,
Note: Sunday, April 17, will be our final (and 91st) day for the devotional series.
HOLY SATURDAY LITURGY
"Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.
On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment."
MEDITATION | Daniel Snoke
The day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is an odd day. Historically Christians have called it "Holy Saturday", but why is it "holy"? Nothing happened on it. We remember Jesus on the cross on Friday, we celebrate his resurrection on Sunday, but we know very little about what took place on Saturday. Did anything happen?
As good citizens of the 21st century, we are trained for action. We love productivity and getting things done, so it is no wonder then that we read Scripture through this lens as well. Christ paid for our sins on a Friday and rose on a Sunday. Like a one-two punch, we approach God's work of salvation with a "get 'her done" attitude. Atonement, check! Resurrection, check! What's next?
If we look closer though, there is a lot that happened on Holy Saturday. We do not know a lot about Joseph of Arimathea, but Scripture says that he was "looking for the kingdom of God." It is no mistake that Joseph prepared the body of Christ for burial on the "day of Preparation." Like a divine reflection on the meaning of Sabbath, Christ accomplished the ultimate work as he died on the Cross, and as his body was prepared for the tomb, his disciples were forced to rest and trust in God's plan of redemption.
Sabbath does not happen because we have finished all of our work. We sabbath because we cease from labor and trust God for his ultimate provision. On this side of heaven, our work and labor will always be mixed with futility and frustration, but as we sabbath, we pause to participate with a part of the heavenly rest we will have when Christ comes again. Joseph and the disciples were forced to pause and participate in this rest as well. Their sins were paid for on the cross, but Christ had not yet been raised from the dead to once and for all defeat death. Would God make good on his promises? How could God use the shameful cross in his plan to establish his Kingdom?
Ceasing from work is hard specifically because we cannot see how things will resolve. "Will my boss love or hate my proposal? Will I be able to finish that project on time? Will my house ever be clean if I don't do it now?" It is in these unknowns that God works through sabbath. If we never stop, we will never let God speak to our doubts. If we never confront our doubts, we will not look for the kingdom of God. This is what Joseph must have known. As a man who "was looking for the kingdom", he boldly asked Pilate for the body of Christ, that he might honor and care for it. In the midst of fear, sorrow, shame, and doubt, Joseph's desire was to be with Christ, even if he was seemingly dead. Sabbath is about choosing to be with Christ, even if his presence in our work is seemingly dead.
So while not a lot happened on Holy Saturday in a grand, cosmic, literal earth-shattering way, a lot happened in the hearts of Christ's disciples. They were forced to see their doubts, sorrows, shame, hope, love, and memories in context of their relationship to Jesus. Even if they did not know it, they too were being prepared for Sunday. God was preparing them not for a grave, but for everlasting life with him.
Today, take time to consider your patterns of sabbath.
2nd Reading: Read Psalm 16 in preparation for Easter.
This is a commonly quoted text in the New Testament. The line "You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; you will not let your holy one see corruption" (v.10) was quoted by Peter in his Acts 2 Pentecost sermon and applied to the resurrection of Jesus.
City Reformed Presbyterian Church
The 90 Days project is a collaborative effort of many church leaders. Matt Koerber and Daniel Snoke have taken lead roles, with others helping to write daily devotionals.