Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

            Restoration is a beautiful thing.  I don’t often watch makeover shows on television, but if I am channel surfing and catch an old house which seems best suited for the wrecking ball getting restored to its original charm and beauty, I’m hooked.  We as people seem to resonate deeply with things being repaired and rejuvenated to looking brand new again.

            For that to occur, someone needs to have the vision to see the old become new.  If not, then the drab discouragement of a gray and dreary environment can easily take over, forgetting the original shine of how things once were.  In the context of today’s psalm God’s people once enjoyed the covenant and the promises of God.  But over time the relationship was not maintained and cared for; the people gradually slid into disrepair.  Centuries of sheer neglect brought a situation where it seemed that the only recourse was to do away with the people and begin again.

            The psalms have been the prayer book of God’s people for millennia.  Suffering and hard circumstances provide the backdrop for many a psalm.  Sometimes the difficulty is external – another nation oppressing the people.  But other times, like here in this psalm, the problem is internal – sheer neglect of God’s commands over time to the point that God is just plain angry over the whole dilemma.

            I certainly do not want to make God angry.  No, I much rather would like to enjoy his favor.  The work of prayer becomes the tool we need to begin restoring our broken lives and churches back to their original beauty.  God is patiently waiting for us to come to him.  And we must come to him, again and again.  Like the persevering of using the hammer, pounding nail after nail, so we must offer our prayers morning, noon, and night, day after day, crying out to God with the great cry of the church:  “Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!”

             O loving and gracious God, bring restoration to my life, to my church, to my family, to my workplace, and to my community.  Things are not as they once were.  Send your Holy Spirit so that we might enjoy seasons of blessing again.  Restore, renew, revive and rejuvenate our disordered churches.  May your face shine upon us once again through the mighty name of Jesus.  Amen.

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