Restore Us

By Emily Hylden

A Reading from Psalm 80

1 Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock;
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.

2 In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,
stir up your strength and come to help us.

3 Restore us, O God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

4 O LORD God of hosts,
how long will you be angered
despite the prayers of your people?

5 You have fed them with the bread of tears;
you have given them bowls of tears to drink.

6 You have made us the derision of our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

7 Restore us, O God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

8 You have brought a vine out of Egypt;
you cast out the nations and planted it.

9 You prepared the ground for it;
it took root and filled the land.

10 The mountains were covered by its shadow
and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.

11 You stretched out its tendrils to the Sea
and its branches to the River.

12 Why have you broken down its wall,
so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?

13 The wild boar of the forest has ravaged it,
and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.

14 Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven;
behold and tend this vine;
preserve what your right hand has planted.

15 They burn it with fire like rubbish;
at the rebuke of your countenance let them perish.

16 Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand,
and son of man you have made so strong for yourself.

17 And so will we never turn away from you;
give us life, that we may call upon your Name.

18 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.


Here in South Louisiana, we’ve finished one summer growing seasons — get this — and started another. Having been raised in the upper Midwest, this is an absolutely foreign concept, but a lot of fun to try out. I spent much of July pulling out cucumber vines and tearing down sunflower stalks, and planting another round of both! First came the striping away and tearing down, and then came the new planting. I had to say goodbye to and let go of the plants that had made flowers and fruit for me throughout June in order to make room for new plants to sustain my homestead through the late summer and fall.

Our journeys are a constant stripping away, if we will allow it. Our lives are a continual refinement, if we do not refuse. But I use the language of refining and stripping away, language of remodeling and of discomfort, on purpose. It hurts, it’s pruning, it doesn’t necessarily feel like good news.

But here is the good news: the good news is that this surrender sets us free. It urges or sometimes even requires us to let go of unnecessary leftovers that hold us back.

We cling closely to the expectations, habits, routines, and relationships that fill our lives. There is much to learn and glean from them. But there are also opportunities for freedom, for letting go of old ways that used to fit, but don’t serve God’s call on our lives anymore. In relationship with the God made known in Jesus Christ, we are welcomed to a constantly growing and changing experience, with continual stripping away, relentless refinement, an invitation to an ever-more-lightening load, leading us always closer to the kingdom of God.

The Rev. Emily R. Hylden resides with her priest husband and three sons in Lafayette, Louisiana. Find her podcasting at Emily Rose Meditations.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Matlosane – The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Trinity Parish, St. Augustine, Fla.


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