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Friday December 11th

Read Psalm 126, Habakuk 3:2-6, and Philippians 3:12-16

Psalm 126
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

The NRSV translates the opening lines of Psalm 126 in the past tense. “When the Lord restored our fortunes, we were like those who dream…..”

The Hebrew could also be translated in a way to suggest it hasn’t yet happened. Here is Robert Alter’s translation of the opening lines:

When the LORD restores Zion’s fortunes, we should be like dreamers. Then will our mouth fill with laughter and our tongue with glad song. Then will they say in the nations: “Great things has the LORD done with these.” We shall rejoice.1

His translation reminds me that the verbs of my life are also sometimes fluid in their tense. Some days I feel restored. Other days, I feel sorely in need of restoration. Some days I can easily dream of a future with hope. Other days, I long to trust in dreams I haven’t yet dreamt. We live in the in between, the both/and.

We are in Advent, preparing for a world that has already been restored and still needs to be restored as we can see it in our dreams.

We proclaim Black Lives Matter because we believe both that God has already proclaimed it and that we still have work to do so that the dreams of justice, safety, and peace for black lives will be visible and manifest in the world around us.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, about our in between status too. “Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own… forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal… .”

Theologically, we may be in an in between time our whole lives long. And that kind of waiting is okay. But black lives are dying while we wait, are cut off from equal protection while we wait, are facing systemic discrimination and oppression while we wait.

Let us pray:

O Lord, we have heard of your renown, and we stand in awe, O Lord, of your work. In our own time revive it; in our own time make it known;

As we claim Black Lives Matter, we commit to working to bring your dreams to the reality of our lives. Forgive us for our complacency, for our willingness to wait without action and to hope without consequence. Revive us, that we may press on toward the goal.

As the psalmist reminds us,
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

May we commit to turning our dreams into action, that we can all be bringing in the sheaves of God’s justice, mercy, and peace for all people. Amen.

Marci Auld Glass is the Pastor/Head of Staff at Calvary Presbyterian in San Francisco. She is a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. She and her husband Justin have two grown sons, Alden and Elliott. She is the Co-Moderator of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians and the Chair of the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood Federation.

1 Robert Alter, The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary (New York: W.W. Norton & Co.), p. 447.