Formations Lesson for April 4- A Song of Life
March 23 2010 by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville

Focal Passage: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Peter 2:4-7

The sanctuary lights dim. The baptistry curtain parts. The water shimmers behind the glass pane. The pastor wades in, extending his hand to the candidate coming down the steps. The organist plays softly:

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus, my Savior.

The candidate glides through the water to the pastor’s side. 

Waiting the coming day, Jesus, my Lord.

The pastor introduces her to the congregation and asks, “Do you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead?” 

She answers, “I do.”  Still, the organ, so softly:

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus, my Savior.

“And what is your confession of faith?”

“Jesus is Lord!”

Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus, my Lord.

The pastor raises his hand in blessing: “In obedience to the command of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ ...”

Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus, my Savior.

“... I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; Amen.”

He tore the bars away, Jesus, my Lord!

Under she goes! Backwards, face up, as a corpse in a grave.

Then up she comes! Sputtering, wiping her eyes, water cascading from her hair, a big grin on her face. New life! 

The organist confirms it, literally pulling out all the stops. The volume and brightness of the music fill the church:

Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes!
He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

God’s people have long used songs to rejoice in God’s salvation.

Psalms 113-118 are called the Egyptian Hallel psalms (from hallelu-yah, meaning “Praise the Lord”).  They were sung at all the major festivals to celebrate Israel’s liberation from Egypt and to express confidence in God’s continued preservation. Perhaps written originally after a victory in battle, Psalm 118 was always the last song at the Passover meal, maybe even the one Jesus and His disciples sang after their Last Supper. On the way to the cross, a song of hope and deliverance! 

Then the writer of 1 Peter (2:7) quoted one line from the psalm (v. 22) to affirm our own hope and deliverance in Christ: “The very stone that the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.”

Hallelujah! Christ arose!

And because He lives, we shall live also. That’s a song worth singing.             
3/23/2010 3:17:00 AM by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville | with 0 comments

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