Longing for Home: An Advent Journey, 2016 — Day Twenty


Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
2 Samuel 7:18-22
Galatians 4:1-7

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
    before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
our enemies laugh among themselves.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call on your name.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

This psalm is a fitting follow-up to yesterday’s glory, don’t you think? It’s a sober reminder that we’re not ‘there’ yet, are we? There is work to be done, there are divisions to be erased, there is gospel truth to be spilled out in gift and gratitude.

And as I noted yesterday, it is never easy to do that.

Thank God for the psalms of Lament! There are days — seasons, years, decades! — when we need them desperately. “How long, O Lord!” “Restore us, O God!” “Give ear!” “Stir up your might and come to save us!”

Yes! Yes! Come and save us . . . from ourselves, from those who would distort, even pervert, your truth, from the rigors of suffering and death all around us. Thank you, God, for giving us words to use when we feel overwhelmed and weary. Thank you for lament.

And now, let ‘your face shine, that we may be saved.’ Yea and amen!

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