“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.” (Psalm 118:7)
Recently, I finally broke down and bought a smart phone. After eight years with my old phone, it was sadly necessary and overdue. One of its many features is the ability to play a musical alarm. Recalling my past joyful experiences with the Community of Taizé as well as the many prayers shared between All Souls Episcopal and Messiah Lutheran, I immediately thought to make a Taizé chant my alarm tone. Of all the many choices available, I selected Psalite Deo (Praise God), based on Psalm 118. [Listen below]
What a blessing it has proven to have my first conscious thoughts each day be of God’s love and the great things done and being done in my life. “This is the day the Lord has made” with all its opportunities. “Sing a new song to the Lord for all the wonders God has done.” It is another day for me to give thanks and praise with all the earth. “Sing out for joy!” No matter what happens in this day, “I shall not die but live!” “For God’s love endures forever.” “Alleluia! Alleluia!”
With such affirmations thrust upon my mind and heart, my day begins somehow differently than before. I recognize once again that God is always doing something new in my life. No matter the adversity laying before me in wait, I need not be afraid. It is truly time for me to awake from my slumber and witness to the new, joyful reality of the Risen Christ in my life.
In our Lenten class on grief, I mentioned that life can often seem like a number of “little deaths” with its many trials and losses. Yet as we might rightly grieve, we should never forget that through Jesus we have access to an abundant life. Our “little deaths” will be used by God to show love for us. Blessing will surely come, and so, we can live in hope. We are called as a resurrected people where we trust God is doing new and wonderful things in and through our lives. We need not get stuck in our doubts and darkness. We can instead embrace the resurrection dawning in our lives.
“In my distress, I called to the Lord. God heard my voice and set me free. God is my strength. God is my song.” How shall I proclaim this Good News? How can I not? It is humbling to think that our extraordinary God is breaking into our ordinary lives in such a joyful, intimate way.
Yes, we have access to God through the Risen Christ. The tomb is empty. Let us not linger there, but instead run and tell all we know through word and deed. Jesus is Risen! He is risen indeed! A new song and new life lie before us.
In thanksgiving, I want to live for him and those he entrusts to our care. I intend to lift my voice to the Lord for he is surely good, for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 118). I pray your life will join mine and the lives of all the saints in singing praises to God forever.
Happy and blessed Easter to you all!
Posted again (after an earlier, recent post on Psalm 118), here is Psalite Deo the Ecumenical Community of Taizé
This post originally appeared as a pastoral letter in Messiah Lutheran‘s newsletter, The Messenger (April 2015).
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations for this article are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
© 2015 The Rev. Louis Florio. All content not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.