This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Not each of earth’s 24 hour days is equally significant. We may be lulled into a false belief if we only or mostly view time as a measured passing of hours, days, and years. The ancient Greeks separated these two into chronos and kairos, with kairos being the event oriented understanding of time.
From such a view the psalmist wrote these words about “the day the Lord has made,” referring to the day of Christ – the day that the stone rejected by the builders becomes the capstone of the entire building. The church invisible is clearly the intention here, as Ephesians 2:20 insists that it was “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” And if that is not enough Peter removes all doubt as to the correct interpretationH H as he combines Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the “chosen and precious cornerstone” (Isaiah 28:16) and our psalm above, clarifying that this “day” spoken of in Scripture is the culmination and fulfillment of all the hopes and prophecies made about Christ and His people.
This draws us into a cosmic drama, and more than a drama – real events in a clash of purposes and personalities. On the one hand stands the fallen angel Lucifer and his hordes of his fellow defectors, who have successfully drawn the human species into rebellion and shame. On the other hand stands our Redeemer who has taken on our human nature, only without the sinful moral failure aspect, and has paid for and shown His power over our sin and all of its ramifications.
These two enemies are not equals or even peers – they are as different as author and story, artist and subject, or Creator and creation. But our Redeemer has humbled Himself to our world to redeem us to Himself – an act that can only be understood as pure love. He who made all things took on human flesh. He who is above all things humbled Himself to death, even death on the cross. He who knew no sin became sin for us.
But what is this “Day” and when shall it begin? At the resurrection the dawn already began, and we live now in the twilight of dawn, with the first gleams of the full day streaking across the darkened night. Some of us in this life see a glimpse of the dawn, for the effect of Christ’s coming has impacted society. But others of us who sincerely believe are pulled back into the darkness by the hate of the other kingdom – the rule of darkness.
But in that darkness, there is still the reality of the dawn of this new day in the hearts of those who believe. And we are helped in no small way by the knowledge that the Christ took on this darkness, lived here and died here, still confident of the ultimate victory. Being a Christian is not for the faint of heart – or, better said, God does not leave us who have tasted of His light and love in our weakened and discouraged condition. We are foolish if we go and look for trouble from these cosmic forces, as Jude warns us. But when we are drawn into the darkness, either in the fulfillment of God’s commission to His followers to shine in the darkness or by the darkness rising up against us or both, we have the full promise of God to prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies.
One of those enemies is death, and no form of death can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. But other forms the enemy may take include discouragement, temptation, disillusionment, confusion, and outright physical attacks.
Encoded in the gospel message is hope, and the glory of this hope is not only to be felt in the future, when Christ destroys all who oppose Him. But this light comes to dawn in the heart of all those, of each of us, who are enlightened by the hope of the gospel. When darkness is all around us, when we have every reason to be discouraged, and yet we are having a glorious moment of worship, there is the experience of the Holy Spirit shining in our spirits.
The arts seem to be best suited for expressing this spiritual reality, for having said that it happens, we are left with very little else to say in the cognitive realm – philosophy and facts do not need to shout, and even sound a bit silly when they are made to do so. But the arts can take this truth and express it in new levels, even helping others to experience it as it relays the experience.
I make this point because many of us live in the darkness of sadness, abuse, depression, discouragement, and conflict. We cannot explain what has happened in the darkness other than the fallen nature of humanity and the cosmic conflict in the heavenlies. We will exhaust all of our mental and emotional capacities before we can construct any coherent thoughts that will satisfy every person, or even ourselves. But we need not remain in the shadows.
Light is what causes shadows, and not only darkness. The drama of the cross is not the story of growing darkness but of the dawning of the light of God. If we will but turn our heads around the dark shadow to gaze into the light of God, we will be amazed at His power and love and greatness. The day that the Lord has made, is one in which the light dawns in the hearts of those who believe.