Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (NRSV)
Verse 1Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
Verse 2before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!
Verse 3Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Verse 4O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
Verse 5You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.
Verse 6You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
Verse 7Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Verse 17But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Verse 18Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.
Verse 19Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
I had woken in the middle of a winter night and headed downstairs to fetch a cup of water. A thirteen-year-old middle schooler, the eldest of three in a single-parent home, I endured my share of internal and external chaos, a demanding deluge of homework, chores, navigating a new school, and making sure my younger brothers didn’t burn down our rental.
So no wonder that, as I let the water run into my cup, I was shocked by the brilliance of what I saw out the kitchen window. The backyard was covered with fresh laden snow, three feet deep, and I was breathless at the beauty of the bright moon against the snow and the whole world blanketed in a silence and stillness I had not yet known.
God’s face shone bright in the darkness that night, and I stared awestruck out the window as I drank from the cup, knowing with visceral certainty that I was safe and that I was loved.
Dear God, let your face shine in the darkness this day and save us as only a loving Shepherd can save his sheep. In your restoring comfort and sustenance we pray, Amen.