Scripture: Psalm 126
Key verses: ( 1-6)
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 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.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5 May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
Reflection: This short Psalm contains a big prayer. Designed as a “prayer of ascent,” it is a psalm to be prayed or sung as the faithful made their way to Jerusalem for holy celebrations. It’s a song of a pilgrim. It looks back to the past, when God brought the exiles home and “restored the fortunes of Zion.” It remembers God’s faithfulness, and the pilgrim community’s rejoicing. There was laughter then, and shouts of joy. And the psalm also looks ahead, to a time when God will do the same again. The pilgrim prays for God to restore fortunes once again. And the prayer goes deeper—asking that tears be turned to joy, and seeds into armloads of blessing.
We are in the middle of Lent right now. In a way we are on a journey to Jerusalem for a holy celebration. Maybe you are at a point when your journey is feeling long. The destination seems out of reach. Maybe you’ve lost your way. Perhaps like the pilgrims of the Psalms, we can look back and remember the faithfulness of God. Perhaps we can look ahead and pray confidently that God will again be present with us. Perhaps we can see even now that God has been walking with us all the way, helping us into the good future that God already sees. The harvest has already begun. Keep walking, and keep your eyes and ears and heart open.
Prayer: Lord, help me on my pilgrim way. Keep me looking back, remembering your faithfulness. Keep me looking forward into your good future. Keep my eyes open right now, here, today, to see you with me. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].