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Restore us, O God: A Reflection for Sunday, December 18

By Tori Mack

Daily Lectionary reading: Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25

Selected passage for reflection: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19


Read

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 New Revised Standard Version

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,

you who lead Joseph like a flock!

You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth

2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.

Stir up your might,

and come to save us!

3 Restore us, O God;

let your face shine, that we may be saved.

4 O Lord God of hosts,

how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?

5 You have fed them with the bread of tears

and given them tears to drink in full measure.

6 You make us the scorn[a] of our neighbors;

our enemies laugh among themselves.

7 Restore us, O God of hosts;

let your face shine, that we may be saved.


Reflect

My mom and I used to live in the same city, but now we are a day trip away from each other. Thankfully technology keeps us connected, so the distance doesn’t usually hit me, and most days I live my life per usual without incident. But when challenges arise, I realize my help is so far away.


When parenting gets challenging, I call my mom and say, “Come get your grandchildren!” She knows it’s my SOS, my cry for help. I find comfort knowing she understands before hearing details. We laugh, she encourages me, I regain my confidence, we exchange I love you’s and hang up.


Until the next time.


As I watch the news, I find myself saying, “Lord, Come get Your children!” Except, I’m not referring to my children, I’m referring to humanity and our lack of care for one another. I join the psalmist saying,


Restore us O, Lord God.


One Sunday I was reminded that the world continues to struggle with being as Jesus taught. Jesus came against the status quo to establish a new order, a new way of living that meant lowering ourselves, rather than chasing earthly wealth or status. We should be quick to forgive, listen and care for one another. Jesus calls for us to be one unified body in Him. We should be known for our love for one another, but instead, we struggle with divisions. And access to resources. And privilege. All of this moves us further from God.


Again, I join the psalmist,

Restore us O Lord God.


This psalmist is crying out for Israel, asking God to revive the Vine of Israel. They are not the people they desire to be; they are suffering from the consequences of their sins. They are being mocked by other nations. Life is looking dismal as a nation. They need God. They need His leadership and restoration in Him. Just like us today.

Come and restore us, O Lord God.


Respond

The distance between you and God may feel great but He remains aware. I invite you to enjoy a moment of stillness.

As you sit, notice the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Tell God your needs. Give Him thanks.

Notice where you are experiencing joy. Give Him thanks.


Rest

O Lord, some of us have forgotten what You told us; to love one another. Please come.

Selah.


Some of us are not treating our neighbor as ourselves. Please come.

Selah.


We’ve mishandled Your creation. Please come.

Selah.


We need you. Please come.

Selah.


Encourage us while we wait.

Selah.



About the Author

Tori Mack is currently a student at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. She co-pastored a church plant in her hometown, Louisville, KY. She is on mission to be ordained and teach northerners the proper way to enjoy sweet tea. She loves her loud and crazy family deeply. If you’re looking for her, you’ll find her getting lost on a train in search of her next museum adventure.


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