Look Back, Bless Forward, Sing

Readings: Psalm 126; Isaiah 19:18-25; 2 Peter 1:2-15

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses of the Negeb.

May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.

Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. Psalm 126, NRSV

It’s a song of ascent, recited by pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem.

It’s a wistful look back to a grander time, before defeat and a forced evacuation into Babylonian captivity.

It’s a plea for a future of restored joy, a future that takes the tears of the present and grows from them a harvest of laughter.

These words sent up to God as an act of faith ring true today as much as they did over two thousand years ago. So much death has come during this pandemic, and our tears have flowed over loss and loneliness. But those tears can bear good fruit, and the maturity that adversity brings increases our capacity for joy moving forward.

Sing this psalm. Sing for all who have suffered. Sing for new life. Sing for yourself and those you love. Sing for those you don’t love, and those you don’t know.

Sing to God. Expect joy to grow.


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