Carpe Diem: A Reflection on Rejoicing

This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I’m often reminded of this verse from the 118th Psalm early in the morning as I contemplate my day. I was born into a cynical generation and if I’m not careful I will become its chief apostle. In my depravity I can easily default to a negative attitude and a critical spirit. But God, in this Psalm, and the entire Bible for that matter, is calling me to the attitude of Christ and to rejoicing.

“This” is the day the Lord has made. The Psalmist was not rejoicing in yesterday or tomorrow but in today. He was not reflecting on the best day from his past, or the potential of an epic day in the future. He was rejoicing in today. He was not bound by failures of the past or challenges of the future. He was rejoicing in today. He did not construct an ideal day and say he would rejoice in that. He did not say if this happens, or if they do that, or if I get a call from whomever, then I will rejoice. No. He rejoiced in “this” day.

“This is the day the Lord has made.” God’s sovereign creation of each day is the foundation for his worship. Question: Why should we rejoice in this day? Answer: Because God — the gracious creator who is long-suffering and patient towards us, who in his kindness and mercy offers us Christ — He made this day. We rejoice today because we know the maker of the universe and, in Christ, he calls us friends.

“Let us rejoice.” Wait a minute…the verse isn’t singular, is it? It’s a first person plural pronoun. The king was inviting all like minded children of Israel to redeem the time, to rejoice in the day, and to be glad in God’s sustaining provisions. Rejoicing would be a lot easier if we didn’t have to dilute it with others, wouldn’t it?

That means the person who gets under your skin — yeah, them — you are to rejoice and be glad with them. You could go it alone, I suppose. Just rejoice in your “God and I” time. But then you would be disregarding this verse. And then you wouldn’t really be rejoicing in “this day” would you? Ergo, you can’t rejoice alone and obey Psalm 118, can you?

Rejoicing isn’t a solo act. God is doing something great in the world that will culminate in people from all tribes and tongues praising their redeemer who rules supreme over “this day.” Today we can experience a small foretaste of this future event. Today we can be glad in his promises and rejoice in his creation. For on “that day” there will be no more choice. But today — on “this day”  —   we can invite others to join with us in praising the King Eternal.

God is calling me — and you — to rejoice in this day because he made it. Rejoice in it with all its difficulties and hardships and aggravations. Rejoice in it in the midst of all the havoc that a fallen world throws at you. For he made this day. And he invites us to know him. And experience joy and gladness. And to rejoice. On this day. Together.