Fifth Sunday of Lent 2016: The Psalms Passage – Getting back what we yearn for and need

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.” (Psalm 126:1)

I have commented on this passage several times, and have always held it to be that the “fortunes” were physical and material; not materialistic but having a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear etc. The intent was when those who were in captivity were released and allowed to go home.

But I am thinking lately of something different, and this first verse crystallized it for me – health. When the Lord restored us . . . me to health. Not that it has happened, but if it ever would happen it would be like a glorious dream come true.

“Then 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.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.” (Verses 2 – 3)

One of the most difficult things is that when I am having health problems, it is hard for me to breath, and it get even more breathless when I laugh. So to be able to laugh without problems, and to have a full strong voice to shout with joy, that would be a dream come true too!

Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.” (Verses 4 – 6)

I am going to tell you something, beloved reader; something that I have not told many people. When I started to get ill and realized how serious it could be, I promised myself a good long cry when this illness I have landed me in the hospital. Instead, But the development of this illness has been slow and gradual, and I have not had one long cry but frequent intervals of crying. So these verses resonant with me very much. I feel like I have been sowing tears for a long time.

I really did not mean to get this maudlin. And I try not to talk much here about my health. But these verses hit me at a low time. So here I am, laying before you my grief.

It is good though, to lay things before the Lord. It is one way of confessing what is going on in our lives. Confession need not be about the sin we have done, but the places and situations that we find ourselves in. And the penance is not making amends, but asking the Lord that we might persevere in the face of what we are . . . facing. And it is not forgiveness we seek, but restitution and restoration of those things, the valuable essential one, that are absent or that have been taken from us.

May the Lord God hear your pleas for restitution and restoration, beloved reader. Selah!

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