the one where we ask God to restore us...
January 2, 2017, 12:00 AM

Sermon from Wednesday December 21, 2016

Text: Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19

Grace and peace to y’all this evening for as we gather for our final Advent Holden Evening Prayer service this year. Will y’all pray with me? Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer; amen!

It won’t be the first time that I admit that this is just the beginning of a long week and the beginning of the end to a long year. As I prepared this small message for us this evening, I kept being pulled to one of our readings from this past Sunday. That reading was the 80th Psalm, and we don’t typically hear the psalms enough, but I’m continually amazed at how timely the psalms are for us today, even thousands of years after they were written down and collected.

The word that stands out to me in that Psalm is restore. And not just any ol’ restoration, but restore us. The psalmist is calling out to God to restore the people of Israel. To return us to where we were.

I marvel at my father-in-law’s ability to restore old items. Whether it be an old wooden swing that hangs on the porch of their home in Lexington (which the girls love), the old wagon he restored (which the girls love as well), and even his childhood high chair – which though we loved the thought, it was restored so well that the girls would ‘shoot’ right out of it if they moved just a tiny bit. That one we let him keep.

I marvel at it because of the time, skill, and patience that goes into those projects. They are things that I don’t think I’d be able to do, mostly because I don’t have the time, the skill, or the patience. I still love, enjoy, and appreciate the work that he is able to do. To not only bring life back to an old object, but to bring new life into the lives of his granddaughters, and to those who visit his home.

As I read this psalm and reflect upon it during this season of Advent, I wonder and ponder if that original psalmist understood what it might mean to ‘restore us, O Lord.’ Did that writer understand – do we understand – the time and love that would go into that sort of project.

Much like our ‘how-to’ shows and YouTube videos, we like to think that a restoration project is a simple wave of a hand and it’s done. Is that what the psalmist thought? Simply restore us Lord! Get it done! We won’t turn away again!

Is that what we expect as we wait during this season of Advent for the coming of our Lord’s birth? That it just be simple, quick, and easy?

Restoration is a long and loving process. The more intricate an object is, the more time is needed and original parts have to be found, created, and used to complete the project.

Restore us, O God.

We live into the call and cry of the psalmist in asking for God to restore us. Restore us during this season of Advent – so that we might know you more fully and deeply. Restore us in our life – so that we might cling to you in times of struggle and proclaim you in times of great joy. Restore us in worship, prayer, and devotion – so that we might see you at work always in our lives, where we don’t take your action for granted.

Restore us, O God.

I like to think that God hears that cry and prayer and God’s response is something like, “Well, alright – but, it ain’t going to be quick or cheap.” The restoration that God seeks is complete and thorough, not just bringing us back to the time we remember to be good, but restoring us into the image that God has created us for.

Restoring us to be those creations that see, feel, know, and speak of God’s grace and love within our lives. Being ones that look to God and seek God first always. Restoring us to see the one who has given us life.

Taking the time, energy, and patience to work through that sort of love upon us. Restoring us through Word and Sacrament. Restoring us through prayer and service. Restoring us through worship and thanksgiving. Through wine and bread, water and spirit.

We look with hope to the celebration of the beginning of that great restoration. We wait in expectation for the Word to dwell with us, for God to be present among us. Come down to point us towards the one who restores.

We wait. In hope.

Restore us, O God.


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