An Advent reflection for Saturday, December 2nd by Jenny Hoskins
Lectionary reading for 12/02/2023: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; Micah 2:1-13; Matthew 24:15-31
Selected passage for reflection: Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19
Psalm 80:1-7; 17-19 NRSV
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.
But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. 18 Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.
19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
To bring back a previous right, practice, custom or situation. To reinstate.
To return someone or something to a former condition, place or position.
To repair or renovate so as to return it to its original condition.
This is the word that immediately drew my attention as I read Psalm 80.
There is so much in the world right now that feels so broken. Like we have drifted so far from a place of wholeness, a place of shalom, a place of right practice and custom and situation. Nations are at war, political discourse is ugly and polarizing, we continue to consume too much and destroy our planet, we cling to our individual freedoms over our collective liberation. It can all feel so hopeless.
I find some comfort knowing that in the beginning God created the world, and it was good. That written into our very DNA is an existence of right relationship with God and with others and with our earth. Perhaps we can learn to trust that through the leading of the Spirit we can be led back – or at least much closer – to our original condition. To a place and time when it was all good.
It helps me to feel a little less loss, a little less hopeless in the midst of the mess we find ourselves in – to know that God is calling us back to a place that we do in fact know. A place that humanity has found itself before. A place of wholeness and right relationship. As we wait for our coming Savior in this Advent season may we learn to trust again in the One who can save us. May we attune our hearts anew to where God’s face is shining upon us. May we hold onto hope that God will indeed restore us all.
Sit in silence and take a few deeper than normal breaths. What rises to the surface as you think about the word “restore”? For yourself? Your family? Your community? The world? Hold these thoughts before God, trusting the Spirit desires to bring about restoration.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
Let your face shine, that we may be saved.
About the Author
Jenny and her family live in Nashville, TN after about a decade of living and serving in Ecuador. She is a mother to two, wife to one and still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. She is happiest when she can spend time outdoors or when she is gathered around a table with good friends and rich conversation. She serves as a communication specialist with Serve Globally of the Evangelical Covenant Church and is training to become a spiritual director.