Pastor Herb Vanderbilt
East Nelson United Methodist Church
9024 18 Mile Road, Cedar Springs
Psalm118:19-24: Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
This text contains a wake up call. In fact, we sometimes use it that way in summer camp. Early in the morning I often encounter a young person looking like they are not quite awake yet, their clothes are wrinkled like they slept in them all night (and probably did!) and their hair is going in several directions. As the Camp Dean, It is always interesting to look them in the eye and hit them with this phrase, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” If nothing else it usually results in a sheepish smile just before they break into a dead run to find someone to tell what just happened to them.
Sometimes we go though life feeling just like that young person at camp, a little groggy and dulled to what is going on around us, or why it is that we have been placed here on this earth. Sometimes we just need a little wake up call.
The text today from the Psalmist also reminds us of the wake up call that was given by a man who lived over 2000 years ago. Not any man, but a man who was also God and was sent to deliver the ultimate wake up call. This passage also reminds us of the day when that man Jesus came riding into Jerusalem like a war hero or a conquering general, just what some of his followers were waiting for. They were prepared to celebrate when He would start an earthly Kingdom, kick out the Romans and return the Israelite nation to the greatness it once had. Finally they could get rid of all the foreigners and just live for themselves. Jesus comes in like he is going to do that and then “Hello! That is not why I came here,” they get the wake up call. He came, not for an earthly kingdom but a heavenly one. Not just for the Jews but for all people. Through Him we are all made righteous and may enter into the gate of the Lord. If this is not the best news that you have heard all day, then, hello! “This is the day the lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”