Reading: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Our dog Cooper loves to go running after things in the yard. (I realize that this is true of all dogs, but my dog’s one floppy ear makes me think he’s the best one.) One of my favorite things to do with him to get him tired is throw a ball from our deck into the lowest part of the yard. That way he has to do a lot of running up and down a big slope, and if I play my cards right, he’ll have to do some sniffing around when the ball inevitably rolls into some brush. When I hold a ball up over my head like I’m going to throw it, his whole face lights up. In fact, the best time to take a picture of him is when I’m holding a ball over my head, because he looks like he’s smiling. (I’m doing my best not to take it personally that his face doesn’t get that excited about me…but I digress….)
The reading for today includes three calls for God’s face to shine. “Let your face shine, that we may be saved.” The Psalmist is asking for God’s face to light up the way Cooper’s face responds to a shiny orange ball hurtling through our yard, but better.
It makes me think that God’s face shines, radiates, dazzles when we love and care for each other. (And yes. I used my thesaurus for that last line.) God’s face was shining in the stable of Bethlehem, and God’s face was shining on that first Easter morning at the empty tomb. When God’s face shines, it is a light in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.
God of Light,
Thank you for the ways your face shines in our lives. Thank you for the light that you bring in this season. Guide us with your grace in this day. Help us to remember your light in our darkness. Help us to reflect your light to the world.