Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Year A - Advent 4 - Needed Change 4
December 22, 2013

Translation is always an intriguing proposition. What is often translated as “Restore us” has a basic root connection with “Come back to us”.

Now, remembering an exilic context, these two options take on different emphases depending on whether one is still in or past an exile.

While in an exile, the basic need is to have an experience that one is not bereft, even if distanced. “Come back” would seen more appropriate here. Any “Restore” talk continues an unrealistic expectation that we won’t fall into the same false thinking we had before exile or some sense of entitlement/privilege that still is looking for an eternal “win”.

After exile we are more likely to go with “Restore” as that is our realized present—we have been restored. To use the “Come back” phrase brings flashbacks to being out of control—which we will avoid at all costs.

Today, for just a moment, read this Psalm again with the “Come back” translation and listen for what the poor of today are praying because political/economic/religious powers have enslaved them. Remember that every exile that hasn't ended in genocide eventually comes to an end with the end of the enslavers. Since economic, politics, and religion, each-and-all, need their minions, the poor we will have with us as long as they serially reign and serially fall.

Is this Psalm from your heart or toward your complicit behavior with economics, politics, and religion?

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