Psalm 118, 25 March 18

This psalm of thanks opens and closes with resounding acclamations of divine love and mercy that endure forever. In between are statements about trusting in God rather than in rulers (8), relief at delivery from evil and opposition (5, 10) access to goodness (19) and causes for rejoicing.

Each year when this psalm arises on Palm Sunday, local practice has been to pick up verse 22:

The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

As Paul Stookey has it in his song The Building Block, the cornerstone of a whole new world, one more resilient than the grand structures of antiquity — Shelly’s Ozymandius comes to mind.

Since there are half-a-dozen previous posts on this psalm — see April 2017 and March 2016, for example — that’s it for now. Almost…

Illuminated capital of Ps.118 ‘Cantate Domino’ in the Henry VIII psalter, c.1540. British Library.

Some useless trivia

Many early compositions are listed for Psalm 118 on CPDL. A few have set the whole 29 verses but most, 21 in fact, choose a short selection or a sprinkling of verses that appealed to them, or perhaps their sponsors.

What were the favourite verses?

14 God is my strength…
17 I shall not die but live…
19 Open the gates of righteousness…
22 The stone that the builders rejected…
24 This is the day…

For the alternate reading this week Psalm 31, see a recent post>

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