Psalm 80: 7-15
In our neighborhood an apartment building is going up intended for a mix of young "getting started" adults and empty nesters. Right now it's just four walls with holes for doors and windows, but when finished the foundation and walls will have to stand against the winds, here off Lake Erie just as on the northern Great Plains of my childhood. The walls will support their own weight, and the weight of everything we humans will put inside those walls. Even if well built, if left untended those walls will one day fall to the forces of nature.
The psalmist reminds us that God provided a well-built community. Brought out of Egypt, planted in good soil, protected and nourished. But the community did not attend to itself. It was distracted by lesser priorities. Eventually the irresistible forces of time and sin worked for its destruction. Some might see the church in this metaphor today. It too might seem broken, as if it's been moved off its foundation by neglect and spiritual inattention. Like the psalmist our prayer also might be, "Restore us O God of hosts; let your face shine that we might be saved!"
Restore us O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we might be saved! Amen.
Psalm 80: 7-15 (NRSV)
7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches;
11 it sent out its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,
15 the stock that your right hand planted.