Reading: Psalm 80: 5-7 and 17-19
Verse Five: “You have fed them with the bread of tears”.
Psalm 80 is a song of lament. As one reads the Psalm, you can feel the people’s pain and hurt seeping out of the words. They are calling out to God and and feel as if God were not there. In the opening line of our passage, the psalmist asks, “How long will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people”? They are searching for God. They long for God’s face to once again shine upon them.
Today our headlines are filled daily with stories of people who could use God’s face shining upon them. And there are countless others who feel this way whose stories do not cross our TV screens or our Facebook feeds. There is much hurt and brokenness in our world and even in some of our lives. We continue today to ask where is God in the midst of the pain and suffering of our world. We wonder why God would allow tings to be as they are for so many people.
On behalf of the people Israel, the psalmist laments to God: “You have fed them with the bread of tears”. It is a sad image to have in our minds. Instead of being filled with God’s love and compassion and healing, they are eating tears. They long for God’s presence instead. The psalmist goes on to ask, “Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved”. The people long for God to look their way.
Many would voice this call today. “Restore us, O God Almighty”. You are powerful and can do anything. You came down to earth and lived among us, healing many – physically, emotionally, spiritually. You continue to be present both through the Holy Spirit and through us, your disciples. So Lord, God Almighty, send us out, led by the power and presence of your Holy Spirit. Send us out to bring healing and restoration to the broken people of our neighborhoods and communities. Send us out to be your love and compassion to those who are eating tears. Lead us and guide us to fill them with your bread of love and hope. Send us out. Amen.