When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126
Last night I had a very vivid dream. My father walked into our house with my mother. He was alive and healthy and I remember crying out and running to him. I embraced him and held him close and told him it had been far too long. It seemed as though I could dream in touch and smell, knowing his embrace and the touch of his face. My face was wet with tears when I woke. I don;t know if it is the season, but this time of year I find myself longing for lost family and friends, strongly missing loved ones. Even aching for a reunion, aching for that closeness that death and distance can remove from us.
The psalm appointed for today reminds me that God's desire and God's activity is always about restoration and healing. We can dream because even in our darkest hours God is moving to bind up the lost and despairing, to give rest to the work and weary, and abundance to those who are starving and alone. Here in Sitka we have been inundated with snow and winter has a still tight grasp on us. March can be unbearable for many. The winter stores are gone and yet spring and new life are still not hear. The psalmist reminds us that we are never far from God and God is actively moving on our behalf, renewing love and our hope. May we embrace the wisdom of the ages as we await God's new life for us.
Today I ask God to give me the strength to see beyond the cold and isolation. Help us all to know that the world is turning and that God is bringing new life to us all. May we rest on the assurance that our tears will be replaced with songs of joy. May we let go of the past so that God can create for us a new future. And may we hold fast to the promises of God, even in our darkest hours.