This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (v. 24).
These words often call us to worship, and many people repeat them to affirm that every day is God’s creative gift and an occasion for joy.
The original singers of Psalm 118 rejoiced in the day of God’s liberating the Hebrew slaves from bondage in Egypt. Christians who sing these words celebrate that deliverance from servitude and “the day” of God’s raising Jesus from the dead. Passover and Easter were (and are) days of such great salvation that only a majestic, mighty, and merciful God could make them. Our highest and best response is simply and fully to rejoice.
Not every day is Passover or Easter, though. In Egypt, the Hebrews had many long days of back-breaking and heartbreaking labor before Passover came, along with their freedom. Jesus’ suffering on Good Friday and the dread silence of Holy Saturday preceded the miracle of resurrection.
We all have days when joy seems distant and gladness feels impossible: ordinary days of tedium and boredom; hard days shadowed by grief, pain, or worry; and wilderness days of struggle and testing.
“The days” God makes, days like Passover and Easter, are days which show what God wants every day to be like. The Ephesians writer said: “Be careful how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil” (5:15-16). Some days are “evil”—not yet the kinds of days God hopes and dreams for us. Even on those days, we can trust God is with us and for us, working for liberation and life. One day, every day will be tailor-made by God. In that truth, we can rejoice and be glad.
How can my memories of good and glad days and my trust that God is with me each day carry me through times of struggle?
God, whatever today brings, assure me that I live in your presence, that your wisdom will guide me, and that nothing separates me from your love. Amen.