THE CALL | Mark 11:7-10
And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
O God, what house could contain you, that you should dwell there? All of creation is not vast enough. And yet you desire for your Spirit to make its home in our hearts. Forgive us that we so often shutter our hearts to you. For the sake of your Son, the greater Son of David, do not turn your face away. Clothe us in your righteousness and clothe our adversary in shame; let him not hinder your coming. Open our hearts to welcome you in as our King! Cause us to shout for joy for your salvation, yours alone, we pray.
ASSURANCE | Hebrews 9:11-12
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
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
First reading: Psalms 116 and 117
Second reading: Psalm 118
Psalms 116 and 118, like many of the Psalms, are deeply personal cries to God about distress and anguish. Psalm 116 seems to have been written after the psalmist had an illness in which he nearly died. This led him to depression, and cynicism (116:10-11). When he recovered, he dedicated offerings to God as a sign of his thanks, and proclaimed God’s mercy “in the presence of all the people” (verses 14, 18).
Psalm 118 seems to be written by King David after a battle with other nations that threatened to go very badly; the psalmist says he was “falling” (119:13) in the midst of an enemy army like a swarm of bees, and that God “disciplined” him “severely” (119:18), but did not let him die. Some of the psalms of anguish seem to be written in the midst of trials, while Psalms 116 and 118 look back on the bad times, and thank God for his very tangible rescue from them.
Psalm 117, a very short psalm squeezed between them, seems almost just an interjection of joy, along the lines of, “Let me say that again! Amen!”
When you come out of a time of trial, do you tend to move on quickly and not give thanks to God, meditating with thanksgiving on his earthly mercies? We know that some day we will all die, as we are under the Curse on humanity due to sin, given in Genesis 3, but we should also recognize the many temporal blessings we have and give thanks to God. The Bible tells us that all Christians will have times of trial (e.g. James 1:2-3, 1 Peter 4:12-13), but we should also rejoice in the good things God has given us. Even if we die, Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Our trials are never because God has forgotten us. (Dave Snoke)
WEDNESDAY-CONTEXTUALIZE | Psalm 132
Consider ways that you can let the Psalm form your imagination, that you might share it with others. Perhaps you can journal about it, write poetry or prose, learn a song, create visual art, or reexpress it in ways that speak to your context. If you are planning to fellowship with other people this weekend, consider how you might share these imaginations with your community.
Revelation 21:3 [ESV]
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”
(If you are in a group, you can end with the following call and response:)
The Spirit and the Bride say,
And let the one who hears say,
And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.
(based on Revelation 22:17,20-21)
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.