Words from Psalm 118:

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.

22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.

23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvellous in our eyes.

24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The choice of Psalm 118 for Easter Sunday is so appropriate.  It provides a link with the historic events of the first Easter when Jesus and his followers entered into Jerusalem for the Passover.

It was a familiar psalm to those travelling then to celebrate Passover.  A reminder that the way into God’s presence was through the gates of the city wall to gain access to the Temple.  A time to remember with thankfulness how God helped their ancestors escape from slavery in Egypt to freedom in a Promised Land.

It was part of an annual journey of faith, hope and commitment.  For many it was accompanied by the expectation that God would once again bring them salvation and freedom with a victory over the Roman army of occupation.

Today its words offer a poetic image of what Jesus has achieved for us at Easter.  For Jesus turned on their head the political, nationalistic and self-centred ambitions that many of his day had.  He came to Jerusalem as the Christ, the anointed one, who would open a gate into a new way of thinking and living with a relationship with God not constrained by the walls of a city or the rituals in a Temple.  Jesus stood in place of the Temple and all it meant then.  He became the chief cornerstone on which can be built a community of faithful people seeking to be at one with God.

In all that he did and said, lived and died for Jesus makes this possible.  By his resurrection he triggers the pouring out God’s Spirit to energise his followers into a new way of living where God really does dwell with his people wherever they are.  A righteous way where the Lord Jesus Christ helps us enter in to know we are God’s.  A people who can own and become witnesses to God’s global agenda of love, justice and peace for all.  A people who commemorate and gain inspiration from Jesus in Holy Communion by breaking the bread and sharing the cup of salvation as Jesus did with his disciples then and invites us to do now.

This is the gateway through and beyond Easter which is worth taking and where there is so much to rejoice and be glad about as we remember and celebrate all that Jesus has done for us.

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

 

Rev Geoff Ellis

image sources:  writer’s own (taken of a gateway in the wall at Jerusalem) and Clipart Library