Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! (From the Introit for the Third Sunday In Advent)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever restored anything, maybe an old car or a house or even a piece of furniture that has seen better days? If so, you know the hours that it can take. Restoring old furniture can be a lot of work. Scraping off layers upon layers of old paint. Sanding creases, grooves, and scratches. Smoothing out the finish and finally whipping on a new coat of finish. Yes, time and effort are needed in order to make that which is old, dirty, and broken into a revived thing of beauty.
Restoring things takes effort and dedication, and throughout the process, the item in question does nothing to help. Wood and metal just stand there dead and lifeless, waiting on the hands and the keen eye of the one who restores in order to bring them to life again.
The writer of Psalm 80 knew that only God can restore the brokenness of mankind. This is the cry of the psalmist in the Introit for today. The writer wants the Lord God to restore His people. He wants the rough edges sanded down, the old crackled paint to be removed, the scratches and blemishes to be made like new, and finally for a new finish to be put on the people.
Sinners always need to be restored, and it is only God who can do these things. The Lord delights in His chosen people; they are His creation. It is the desire of the Lord to shine forth with a face filled with grace and mercy. He wants His people to be made new. It is only by the work of God that we who are dead, lifeless pieces are brought to life once again. Jesus brings us to life. His atonement has brought us salvation. In Baptism we are covered with Christ’s righteousness, and the old, sinful stain is removed so that we are made right with God.
What a great gift we receive all the days of our lives! Now, because of Christ, God’s face shines upon us. He looks down from heaven and sees Jesus, and we are restored saints, children of God, waiting for the coming of Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the restoration that you give to us each and every day in the waters of Baptism. Help us always to be mindful of the gifts we receive from your bountiful hand and continue to order our lives to your praise and glory. Through Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.
–Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is the pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch