Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved. - Psalm 80:3
The psalm on the first Sunday of the church year speaks repeatedly of restoration. It is a psalm written in a time of upheaval and sorrow in Israel. It is a psalm asking God for help. Restore us, O God!
When I think of restoration, I think of Steve's friend Jeff, who restores old buildings and houses. He is a true artisan, and not only returns houses to their former glory, but makes them better than ever before with the best of materials and craftsmanship. That kind of restoration goes beyond mere renovation. It not only honors the old house's past, but also brings it into a full new life in the present - along with new fortification for the future.
In the same way, salvation in the bible is often equated with restoration. It is not merely being pulled back up off whatever precipice we find ourselves dangling over, but being given full, new lives back on solid ground, filled with the Spirit's fortification for the future. Restoration not only brings us back into ourselves, but also brings us more fully into God's wholeness.
Asking God for restoration is such a wonderful way to start the new church year! The first Sunday of Advent always feels like a fresh, new start to things. May our faith be restored in the year ahead - made fresh, new and stronger than ever.
Yours in faith,
The readings for this Sunday can be found HERE