Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Advent 4 C - Psalm 80

Psalm 80:1-7
The lectionary offers the option of using Mary’s song, “My soul magnifies the Lord...” in place of the psalm but I think the lament of Psalm 80 helps put both the prophetic word of Micah and its fulfillment in Luke into the proper context which is God’s response to all that leads one to lament. Lament is the question of the scriptures; “How long, O Lord, will the wicked prosper?” and the cry of the abandoned, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” And so it is for us when in days and nights of questioning, with tears for our bread, scorned and derided by life’s circumstance, we cry out, how long, O Lord? But there is within lament’s question the anticipation of Mary’s song for “How long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?” believes there will be a day of restoration. And that is what makes Mary’s song magnificent. She and all of Israel have waited for this day not in silence but in complaint and when the silent God who is always present finally speaks through the offspring of Mary’s womb the centuries of lamenting are forgotten in the infant’s cry. And in an ironic twist the cry of Mary’s offspring on a “hill far away” will be God’s lament which of course is how we are saved.

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