“When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” (Reference: Psalm 126 )
If this passages seems vaguely familiar, beloved, it is not your imagination. It was exactly one week ago that Psalms 126 was one of the readings from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) that I commented on for the Third Week of Advent. In my introduction I had said that the scripture passages used in RCL were passages used at other times. Perhaps not explaining it precisely that way, but wanting you to understand that the scripture found in the RCL is well known and frequently used.
Apparently the historic Anabaptists found such passages instructive for their lives also. This particular passage was a reminder to them that times of struggle and tribulation were not forgotten by the Lord, but would be remembered and rewarded by the Lord. Jelis Matthijss wrote, “Hence, O my flesh, my blood, comfort yourself with these promises, this I pray you; for those who sow here in tears, shall hereafter reap in great joy. Ps. 126:5. Oh, therefore do not think, my dear lamb, that the tears you now weep will have been wept in vain; for they have already come before the face of the Lord.”
In the same way the sentiments of Advent are ones we can carry with us throughout the whole year. Year B is the year of renewal and re-commitment to God. God never falters in the Divine’s faithfulness. And welcomes back those who have gone astray; and reminds them (and us) that what they may have suffered for faith’s sake will be rewarded. Beloved, take this passage into your heart and savor it for the promises and pronouncements it gives. And if you have wandered from faith, let this season of Advent be a time when you return, secure in the knowledge that our Lord remembers our times of trouble. Selah!