Speak Lord: Come to our aid

Andrea Joli, Assisi

The Psalm provided in the Lectionary for the first Sunday of Advent has us call on God to take action, to come to our help.

Lord of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
shine forth from your cherubim throne.
O Lord, rouse up your might,
O Lord, come to our help.

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,
look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it,
the vine your right hand has planted.

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,
the man you have given your strength.
And we shall never forsake you again;
give us life that we may call upon your name.

Lord of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

Psalm 79:2-3,15-16,18-19

One might wonder what the Lord might say to us in return? ‘I have come to your help? But to what avail? How have you used and how do you use, the help I offer you?’

In the first days of Advent our focus is especially on the coming day of the Lord, the day of Judgement. We may well blanch and tremble at how often we have taken very little of benefit from the extraordinary graces put our disposal every day.

And yet the psalm is one such grace. God’s word finding a fresh place on our lips, helping us to know our frailty and our need to cry out to the one who alone can save us.

  • How might you better engage with the grace of God to help you turn more fully and wholly to him?
  • How might you help others do the same?

The photograph is of a work by Andrea Jori, it depicts (I think!) St Clare sustained in her faith by St Francis. But maybe it can also serve as a reminder of the protection and care each human person enjoys because of the love and mercy of God. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.