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!
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
and my bones waste away.
Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
especially to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many—
terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
Make your face shine on your servant;
save me in your steadfast love!
In the movie Inside Out, the main character, Riley, has five emotions within her calling the shots on her reactions to life: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger. At the beginning of the film, the emotions tend to take their turns coloring Riley’s day-to-day memories. The memory bulbs are all yellow (Joy), or all green (Disgust). As Riley matures though, the lesson is that you can feel more than one emotion at a time, even if they’re contrasting emotions.
This Sunday is a day of contrasts. On the one hand there is Palm Sunday, people rejoicing, palm branches waving, shouts of “Hosanna!” Jesus on a donkey. On the other hand is Passion Sunday, people jeering, shouts of “Crucify Him!” Jesus on the cross. Despite the contrasts of this day, Jesus is present with His people.
The Psalms for the day highlight that contrast. Psalm 118 has themes of rejoicing and thanksgiving. All four Gospels record that the people gathered in Jerusalem as Jesus enters on Palm Sunday quote Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
In Psalm 31, David shows us that one can be in distress and trust God at the same time, because God’s presence is here, in whatever situation. If you have siblings, has it ever felt as if they ganged up on you? Do you hear whispers or rumors at school, and maybe even participate in them? What about your youth group? Do you feel like there’s that one person who just doesn’t like you? Sometimes these feelings are valid, and sometimes your perception of the situation might be clouding your judgment. It is comforting that in all situations, real or perceived, that God is real and present, His steadfast love remains with us.
Whatever we are going through, we trust in His rescue and salvation. We await Easter when rejoicing will return, shouts of Alleluia will be heard, and Jesus will rise from the grave, revealing that not even death can stop Jesus from being present with us.
- How does your life feel like it is in a state of contrast right now?
- Where do you see God’s presence in that contrast?
Dear God, thank you for being the constant presence in my life as the world changes. Thank you for the presence of Your Son Jesus and of the Holy Spirit. I rejoice at the invitation to bring You my joy and sadness, and I know that You hear me. Help me to trust You even when I feel distress and anxiety. Keep my heart and mind in Your Son Jesus, in whose name I pray.
Listen to the song “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle and reflect on a “good” situation and a “bad” situation where God is prompting you to trust Him.