Year C – Palm Sunday – Psalm 118:1-2,19-29

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to the horns of the altar!

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

Summary – This Psalm is a joyous song of praise to God, whose love endures forever.  In the lectionary’s division of the psalm, we particularly notice verses 19-29, which are bound up in the coming of Christ.  There is a very joyous spirit in verses 19-21, which have a sort of “gate” theme, pertinent of course to Christ the truly “righteous” one who entered the gates of Jerusalem during the triumphal entry.  Also, verses 25-26 mirror exactly the triumphal entry as Hebrew for “save us” in verse 25 is the term we all know, “Hosanna,” and the words of verse 26 are shouted verbatim as Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey.  However, there is a somber undertone to these verses, too.  Verses 22-23 and the “stone the builders rejected” is applied by Jesus to Himself just after the Triumphal Entry in Matthew 21.  He was teaching in a parable that He was the Son of God, who would be rejected and killed by the tenants of the vineyard.  Then in verse 27 the psalmist says, “Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up on the horns of the altar.”  Indeed, He who came in the name of the Lord was the sacrifice nailed to the altar of the cross.

Insight – When I was graduating High School, there was a mixture of excitement and fear.  But at the time, it was mainly excitement.  Those four years of hard work and other difficulties were over!  But even though it was an extremely exciting thing, there was a looming sense that there was another huge hurdle coming my way.  What was I going to do next with my life?  This Palm Sunday is an exciting day!  Christ went into Jerusalem with many people excitedly hailing Him and calling on Him to “save”!  And yet, there is something looming.  Five days later in our church calendar is Good Friday, and Christ’s death.  The very same people who were joyously welcoming their true King, very soon after were riotously calling for His execution.  So rejoice that Christ is King, and even rejoice that He came to die.  But do it with a sense of awe and wonder this Palm Sunday, knowing that His joyous coming was to accomplish our salvation.

Child Catechism – What does Hosanna mean?  It means “SAVE!”

Discussion – Given the connection of this Psalm to Christ, and the connection between joy in the midst of looming death, what can you say about the psalm’s final verse:  “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  For His steadfast love endures forever”?  What does that truth mean for your life now?

Prayer – Our Lord and true King, we recognize your lordship over all things.  Exercise your rule firstly in our hearts that we, in this Lenten season, would truly regard our sins and cry “save us.”  We know that our sins took you to the cross and thank you that your love is steadfast and eternally enduring.  Make us all the more aware of your goodness, we pray.  In Christ’s name, Amen.

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