Text – Psalm 126:
A Song of Ascents.
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5 May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
Scholars think this Psalm was probably written after Judah returned to her homeland after exile in Babylon. “…the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion.” It is balanced with the second part of the Psalm which apparently asks for God’s help in restoring the previously destroyed walls and Temple of Jerusalem.
The Psalm is in the Lectionary for Advent. Why, you might ask. It is a good, balanced look at the posture of waiting. Today we are experiencing limited joy at the prospect or hope of the full redemption of the creation. At the same time we see the evidence of brokenness like climate change, mistreatment of aliens, indifference toward children, etc.
So we are full of joy because we experience the love of God and of fellow disciples, yet we also know that things could be and will be better when God’s full work is completed. And we can confidently say with the Psalmist, “Those who go out weeping….shall come home with shouts of joy…” Psalm 126:6.
Lord of all being, throned afar
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1850
Lord of all being, throned afar,
thy glory flames from sun and star;
center and soul of every sphere,
yet to each loving heart how near!
Sun of our life, thy quickening ray
sheds on our path the glow of day;
Star of our hope, thy softened light
cheers the long watches of the night.
Our midnight is thy smile withdrawn,
our noontide is thy gracious dawn,
our rainbow arch thy mercy’s sign;
all, save the clouds of sin, are thine.
Lord of all life, below, above,
whose light is truth, whose warmth is love,
before thy ever-blazing throne
we ask no lustre of our own.
Grant us thy truth to make us free,
and kindling hearts that burn for thee,
till all thy living altars claim
one holy light, one heavenly flame.
Lord God, we are waiting for your return. We are waiting for the end to the hostility of politics, the mistreatment of the vulnerable, and the violation of the planet. We are waiting and groaning as we see all the suffering that our fellow humans are experiencing. Please hasten your return. Restore our fortunes, as the Psalmist said. In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.
Find a non-profit that is doing the good work of restoration and help them out. The may be making the lives of children better like C.A.S.A. Or making the lives of the hungry better like Bread for the World. Or advocating for the weak like Oxfam. Talk with friends or family in making the decision of who you will join.