Psalm 80: Restore Us!

Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 9, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 80, a powerful song poem written by a desperate and suffering poet.

Psalm 80 seems to have been written as a plea for deliverance of the northern kingdom of Israel just before the Assyrian armies conquered it. The psalmist pleads with God to remember God’s earlier kindness and to restore Israel’s wholeness.

Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see:
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted,
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.

When I read this psalm, I hear something like the plea of a confused child, asking a parent: 

  • What happened to upset things? 
  • I thought you loved me? 
  • Why am I so afraid now? 
  • Why are you so unconcerned about my fear?
  • Please remember and give me back your love and blessings.
  • Please make things all right again.

It is a prayer not unlike my own in this time of pandemic, profound loss, and moral confusion. There is so much to be mourned in these painful times, and yet so much to be learned. This video, shared with me by a dear Franciscan friend, captures both the mourning and the hope within these past months:

As we experience the continued spread of COVID 19, coupled with confused leadership and astounding popular ignorance, a plea like the psalmist’s might arise in our own hearts.

Much about our lives on and with the Earth has been broken. Let us pray from our brokenness today. May Creation be restored to its sacred vitality. May our human family be renewed with transformed integrity and reverence for Creation and for one another.

Poetry: I Am the Vine – Malcolm Guite

How might it feel to be part of the vine?
Not just to see the vineyard from afar
Or even pluck the clusters, press the wine,
But to be grafted in, to feel the stir
Of inward sap that rises from our root,
Himself deep planted in the ground of Love,
To feel a leaf unfold a tender shoot,
As tendrils curled unfurl, as branches give
A little to the swelling of the grape,
In gradual perfection, round and full,
To bear within oneself the joy and hope
Of God’s good vintage, till it’s ripe and whole.
What might it mean to bide and to abide
In such rich love as makes the poor heart glad?

Music: You Are the Vine- Divine Hymns

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