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.
It can be exciting to think about what we would do if we won the lotto, even for those—like me—who don’t play it. An old lotto slogan was, “All you need is a dollar and a dream.” I used to wonder who had the bigger dreams. Was it those who really didn’t need the money but would use it for fun; or, was it those who could barely afford the ticket to play? The fortunes the people of ancient Israel were dreaming about and praying for in today’s psalm were far greater than any lotto winning. They longed for their land, their freedom, and their identity as God’s beloved children, ones chosen to be a blessing to the world. It is quite possible that COVID has brought a similar sense of loss to you. Separated from family, friends, and worship of God we dream of what once was. But we know we cannot go back; we can only go forward. In God’s love and grace, we march on. There we find healing and joy.
“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that thou art: thou my best thought both by day and by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.” In the name of our Triune God. Amen. (Text: Irish, 8th cent)