Lectionary Year B
December 12, 1999
Third Sunday in Advent
Psalm 126

Step II: Disposition


(FS) A. GENRE

The superscription identifies this as "A Song of Ascents", perhaps sung by pilgrims "going up" to Jerusalem for worship. It is corporate,. not individual.

The Psalm is short. There's a nostalgic look back to the return (from Babylonian exile?) when even the "heathen" marveled at Yahweh's goodness to the people. Things do not appear to be going well at present. Yahweh is implored to once again do great things for the people, restoring their fortunes like streams in the Negev.

(FS) B. PERSONAL INTERACTION

I used to live in Arizona. I remember how the dry landscape near our home would change during the "Summer Monsoon" or some winter storm, and dry gullies would turn into torrents of rushing, life-bringing water. Is that the image here?

Agricultural imagery is employed in the closing plea. A person (farmer?) may go out weeping to sow seeds, but returns in joy with sheaves of a rich harvest.

Is this the inspiration for "Bringing in the Sheaves"?

At the risk of turning to allegory, what could the "seed" and "harvest" symbolize in the context of this Psalm?

SOME OTHER QUESTIONS AND MUSINGS:

A. Is this Psalm a product of the time after the return from Exile, when the homecoming was not a solution for every problem, and may not have met every expectation? The anticipation must have been wonderful, and the trip home like a dream, until the reality of reconstruction of a ruined city set in.

B. People sometimes long for a perfect Christmas-- a homecoming with no stress or tensions--no arguments--no depression.

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