Psalm 126 (NRSV)
Verse 1When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
Verse 2Then 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."
Verse 3The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
Verse 4Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
Verse 5May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
Verse 6Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
Recalling God’s restoration of the fortune of the people of Israel (probably referring to the return to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile around 539 B.C.E. or later), the psalmist relies on God to act again, perhaps in a time of drought and famine. Through faith, the psalmist is certain that restoration and joy in the past can be replicated in the present and on into the future. And so the petition, “Restore our fortunes, O Lord.” We may not have restoration in mind, but our world is nevertheless, repeatedly, in need of renewal. The season of Advent is a time of hope for renewal. That comes as we hear and rejoice in the gospel of the birth of Jesus, which makes us new again and again. More than that, renewal can come to all the world as we join with others in the project of justice, peace, and abundance for all.
Good and gracious God, as you restored your people of old to peace and security, renew our lives and grant to all humankind what you have granted to your people of old. Amen.