Thursday after the First Sunday in Lent
When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Mark 14:26-28
It struck me as rather odd that Jesus would be singing on this night, a night of betrayal, following a last supper, knowing the agony and abandonment that lay ahead. I don’t recall any other place in the Gospels that mentions Jesus singing. So, it caused me to research what he might have been singing following this Passover meal. I learned that throughout the meal portions of Psalms 113 – 118 (the “hallel” psalms) would be sung and that it is likely that Psalm 118 would be sung at the conclusion. That psalm begins with the words “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!” In my Bible, this psalm is entitled: “A Song of Victory.” Jesus’ life is a song about the steadfast love of the Lord and he sings it to the very end. It is his life’s composition and even in this very dark moment, his proclamation does not waver. He knew God’s love would be victorious.
We all find many reasons to doubt God’s love. We can become deserters, who flee when the crushing weight of life is too much, when our disappointments mount and our hearts are broken open by betrayal. Lent is a time to hear again Jesus’ song to “the steadfast love of the Lord.” For no matter what happens, his love is victorious and Jesus always goes before us to Galilee, to the places where we live and work and play and he will keep us close and be the shepherd of our souls.
I invite you to pray Psalm 118 sometime this day.
The Rev. John W. Sosnowski
Christ Church, Ithan