Wednesday: Nov. 30

 Ps. 85:1-7

LORD, you were favorable to your land;

            you restored the fortunes of Jacob.

You forgave the iniquity of your people;

            you pardoned all their sin.

You withdrew all your wrath;

            you turned from your hot anger.

 

Restore us again, O God of our salvation,

            and put away your indignation toward us.

Will you be angry with us forever?

Will you prolong your anger to all generations?

Will you not revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you?

 

Show us your steadfast love, O LORD,

            and grant us your salvation.

 

            from Rev. Richard Howard, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Morgantown  

            Psalm 85 has long been associated with Advent, especially verses 8-13, which look toward a future salvation.  We miss a rich lode of meaning, however, when we pass by verses 1-7, which in their “already here/not yet” nature are in one respect more directly relatable to the Christian experience of salvation. 

            The phrase “restored the fortunes” in verse one signifies that salvation has already once come to the people of God, which for Christians is echoed in the life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  The words of verse 1 articulate the remembrance of a past deliverance that evokes laughter and joy among God’s people.  Yet verses 4-7 reveal the reality that we have yet to experience the full fruits of that salvation. 

            These seven verses reveal the message that the people of God are called to live by both memory as well as hope – to remember the gift of salvation that God gave to us in Jesus, and to place our hope in the fullness of the kingdom that will surely break into human history, when all things on earth and in heaven will be renewed.  Such is the hope of Advent – we celebrate the gift of salvation while we also pray for salvation.  We remember that which has come before, and we look forward with hope for all that is yet to come.

 

May your promise be fulfilled in us, O God, in our waiting for you.

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