Some time ago, I set about writing a hymn for the anniversary. I knew I needed to incorporate Psalm 118:23, but with the anniversary celebration on Palm Sunday, I also wanted to make sure to reference that as well. I wanted the hymn to be celebratory, but not in a "yay, us!" kind of way...rather, giving glory to God for what God has done. And not just specifically for this congregation, but for all of God's people around the world and throughout time. I guess what I was hoping to do was write something that could be easily recognized as celebrating both the congregation's 75th anniversary and Palm Sunday, but still be "generic" enough to be usable at other times of the year and in other places. I also wanted something that would sound good when accompanied by organ, piano, or praise band. Don't know how well I succeeded in any or all of that, but I'm pretty happy with it.
So as I scanned the rest of Psalm 118, I found some really great words and imagery that I incorporated into the hymn (the psalms were written to be sung anyway, right?):
- Psalm 118:1--"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!"
- Psalm 118:22--"The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone."
- Psalm 118:23--"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes."
- Psalm 118:26--"Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord."
There's some other Biblical references:
- Matthew 21:9--"The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!'"
- John 1:29--"The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, 'Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'"
- John 15:5--"I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing."
- Matthew 5:14--"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid."
- Luke 19:40--"He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.'"
- Isaiah 55:12--"For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all of the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
- Isaiah 64:8--"Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand."
- Ephesians 2:8--"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God..."
Blessings to you as we approach the day of resurrection!
(Note: due to requests, I've now posted an audio "demo" of the hymn here.)