Psalm 118:19-29 (ESV)
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 cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 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!
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Our season of Lent wanes, and today the psalmist offers a glimpse of what lies ahead. As we devote our time to turning away from Godless ways, we find ourselves moving toward him. Depending on the depth of our repentance, we may notice how his righteousness surrounds him as we approach, and how his marvelous perfection beckons, rather than judges. The anxiety his holiness normally evokes has transformed to joy. We sense deeply we are approaching our true home, the home we were made for, our ancient home, which is coming anew.
This is the sure success of a holy Lent, a blessing offered to all who repent in earnest, a glimpse of eternity in the full presence of God. Our sacrifice has been nothing more, or less, than our sin—our misguided, wrongly-founded desire to have things our way. To gaze upon God’s righteousness, sovereignty, and strength with envy has been our utter destruction. With new eyes, we see our pride as it truly is: hollow, dark, cold envy and deceit.
This is the lesson of a holy Lent. Have you learned it? If yes, then join us as we set our faces to the goodness and love that now draws near! There remains a short, deadly trek to be made before we stand in his steadfast love, a light and a living that endures forever, an existence that pulls from the depths of our new hearts praises we gladly offer without ceasing, without tiring, without longing, for we stand now in the presence of All That Is, giving glory to Glory!
Lord God, we thank you for not letting us have the ways our dark willing seeks, for plucking us from the death our unhinged hearts desire, for loving us into the eternal goodness of the unending You. Amen.