I called to the Lord in my distress; the Lord answered me by setting me free. The Lord is at my side, therefore I will not fear; what can anyone do to me? (Psalm 118:5-6, The Book of Common Prayer, p.761).
Praying the Psalms throughout the day in the Divine Office allows us to empty our emotions in our prayer. The Psalms span the full array of human emotions from praise to lament, happiness and despair, hope and chaos.
Psalm 118 is the Easter Psalm used on Easter Day and is prayed throughout the Easter Season at various points. It is a Psalm of thanksgiving, God’s mercy, triumph and hope.
If we read the words I chose for this reflection as coming from the mouth of Jesus before the Crucifixion and after the Resurrection; they must have given Him great strength. Jesus knew what it was to only rely on God in the midst of rejection, disorder and isolation. He also relied even more on His relationship with God until the moment of His death during which Jesus handed even that over. No wonder Jesus can claim that the Lord came to help Him in the time of distress.
All of us live in the midst of some kind of distress and chaos. Life throws plenty of curve balls at us. It is easy to lose our sense of direction. These words from Psalm 118 tell us that if we trust in God and know that God is on our side, what can anyone really do to us? We too can find new life in the midst of old things passing away. If we live with an awareness of God, knowing that we are loved beyond measure there is nothing that God cannot accomplish in our lives.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB