April 20: Easter Devotion
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 148, 149, 150; Exodus 12:1-4; Isaiah 51:9-11; Luke 24:13-35
Today’s Writer: Laird Bryson
Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!
The psalms appointed for the Daily Offices for Easter Morning are part of the so- called “Hallelujah Psalms” (146-150), which combine praise of the Lord for His power and wisdom, for His mighty acts in the history of Israel, His mighty blessings, and His life-giving strength, into “a general praise of all that God did, does, and will do.” (The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, p. 515. Emphasis added.)
Psalm 148 calls upon ALL of God’s creation: the heavens, the heights, His angels, His hosts, sun and moon, stars, heavens, sea creatures and all the depths, fire and hail, snow and clouds, stormy wind, mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and cattle, creeping things and flying fowl, kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all judges of the earth, young men and maidens, old men and women and children to Praise Him!
Psalm 149 calls on Israel to “sing to the Lord a new song,” to “rejoice in their Maker,” to be joyful and to “praise His name with the dance,” and with songs and musical instruments, and sing to Him even “on their beds!”
Finally, these songs of praise reach their climax in Psalm 150, which starts and ends with Hallelujah! (Praise the Lord!) Every verse calls for praise to Him: Praise Him in His sanctuary and in His mighty firmament. Praise Him with trumpet, lute, harp, timbrel and dance, stringed instruments and flutes, loud cymbals, even with CLASHING cymbals!! Praise the Lord!
These psalms are hymns of unbounded, even “rowdy,” (C.S. Lewis: Reflections on the Psalms) praise of God! And all of that was before Christ! How much more ought WE to praise God! We, who know – as the people of Israel could not and as the people of other religions cannot – the immeasurable love of God for all of His children. For the wonder of that Love is revealed only in the life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection of our precious Lord, Jesus Christ – of God, Who would die for us out of love for us! And so, we, of all people, should this day and for all days be a people of praise, and of thanksgiving and joy! In the words of Hymn 207 (The Hymnal 1982):
Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!
Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as His love, Alleluia!
Praise Him all ye heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!
Hallelujah! Alleluia! Praise God!