Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118:19-23)
What is it about the psalms that speak to us so deeply, inspiring centuries of Christian worship? Speaking to our spiritual insufficiencies and bare needs, they are poetry, ideas about God that have music and physicality to them that we can carry with us in life and faith. In these verses of Psalm 118, we hear songs of thanksgiving for answered prayers, and a pronouncement about the centrality of Jesus.
Nineteenth century Latin scholar and Anglican clergyman John Mason Neale translated the 6th-7th century text into the hymn we know today as “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation”.
Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ our head and cornerstone,
Chosen of the Lord and precious,
Binding all the church in one.
The music to which the text is sung was adapted in 1842 by Ernest Hawkins after a tune written by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) to be sung at the end of his anthem “O God, Thou are my God” . The hymn remained obscure until the 1960 wedding of Princess Margaret when it was sung in Westminster Abbey.
Gracious Father, We thank you for our many blessings, and for the great gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. We praise you for your infinite mercy and grace, and know that your ear is always tuned to our every longing and need. Help us to grow in your boundle
Georgia Struthers — Traveller, singer, friend