To the leader: on Lilies, a Covenant. Of Asaph. A Psalm. 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 neighbours; 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.
Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19
The South is a place full of Tradition and traditions. Even though I’ve lived here since 1988, these Southern ways make me smile. Folks in the South put words together differently than I'm used to and for Southerns, they make perfect sense: “Mash on the light,” “Carry me to the store.” As a born Midwestern I’ve had to listen closer to get to the heart of the message sometimes. Words cause me to pause, but food, now that’s a whole other area…
In Illinois there was a version of this, but not this. Comfort food can be a lifeline. It can be served at the end of a long and taxing day, and with each bite the stressor fades and I can literally feel love entering in.
The Psalmist’s words speak to that deep, knowing and entering in. As if we are invited to hear something brand new, for the first time. The people have lived in darkness and seek light. The people are weary to their bones and yearn for the face of God.
During this time of Advent, we are invited to be present with life’s circumstances. This isn’t a monastic time of sitting only behind a closed door and praying silently. These are days for us to live in and move through the world. We are asked to see and to be seen by sisters and brothers around us.
And in our seeing, our prayers will break open. For sisters who are grieving, hear our prayer. For brothers who have no place to lay their head, hear our prayer. For light to shine on your troubled children who only know despair, hear our prayer.
Comfort food has been known to feed the body, but what the Psalmist is calling out for is so much more. Restoration speaks to shalom, to balance of place and heart. Life will be given, full-life. This act of God will bring salvation and healing to this world.
Breath Prayer: “Restoring” “God”
Restoring God, your love for all your children inspires us. We seek to follow you so that we build bridges more lasting than walls, so that we listen harder for your heart in our world. Equip us this day to best serve you and your children, from the oldest to the youngest. Lead us toward bringing light to your world. Amen.
believes in beginnings and beginning again, in holding on and letting go, in God's presence as close as our next breath. Lesley works as a hospice Bereavement Coordinator in Atlanta. She is an ordained minister in the UCC and has just completed her second book, "Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon in 29 Days" (to be released early in 2015).