Restore us, O God

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Restore us, O God, we have squandered your fruit.

Psalm 80:7-15 is the Lectionary reading that spoke to me today. The vine God brought out of Egypt that flourished represents the people of Israel. This psalm speaks to the time of exile and destruction that followed the “glory days” of the kingdom under David and Solomon. In our youth we all have “glory days” of hope and promise as the old Bruce Springsteen song declares. At some point we discover that life isn’t as simple as it first appeared.

When we see the weeds, straggled vines and wilting fruit we become discouraged. If we are not producing the fruit we were born to make we define ourselves as failures. The fruit that Christians are supposed to produce (Galatians 5:22-23) include patience and joy. In times of trial we find the harvest lacking and long to quit. This is exactly when we need to persevere. It is the Holy Spirit who produces this fruit through us.

Psalm 80 reminds me that I don’t make joy, patience or love. God can use me to sweeten the world with this fruit if I stay connected to the true vine, Jesus (John 15:1-8), but I am only the worker in the vineyard. He is the owner. It is His harvest. Like the sons in Matthew 21:28-32 my job is just to keep going out into the vineyard to work. If the fruit He is growing in my life is poetry, then my job is to write. If it is photography, then I must take the camera and use it. If it is raising children, I must devote my attention to my family. Whatever the gift I must use it and go into the vineyard, regardless of how run-down and hopeless it may appear.image

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