Psalm Photos – 74 – Ruins

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Psalms

Psalm 74

O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?

Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago, which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage. Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.

Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.

Your foes have roared within your holy place; they set up their emblems there.

At the upper entrance they hacked the wooden trellis with axes.

And then, with hatchets and hammers, they smashed all its carved work.

They set your sanctuary on fire; they desecrated the dwelling place of your name, bringing it to the ground.

They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.

We do not see our emblems; there is no longer any prophet, and there is no one among us who knows how long.

How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever?

Why do you hold back your hand; why do you keep your hand in your bosom?

Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the earth.

You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.

You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.

You cut openings for springs and torrents; you dried up ever-flowing streams.

Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the luminaries and the sun.

You have fixed all the bounds of the earth; you made summer and winter.

Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs, and an impious people reviles your name.

Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals; do not forget the life of your poor forever.

Have regard for your covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.

Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame; let the poor and needy praise your name.

Rise up, O God, plead your cause; remember how the impious scoff at you all day long.

Do not forget the clamor of your foes, the uproar of your adversaries that goes up continually.

——

I came across this cabin on a hike in Virginia last November. As we walked through the ruins of this cabin, I wondered when it first stood? What happened to it? What stories were told in this place? What memories are held somewhere about it? I also think of how many worry that the church is becoming like this. A house that once stood strong, but today is showing its age, walls crumbling a bit (or a lot), and foundations feeling shaky. There is much in our lives that may feel like this. As we look at the church today, what stories from the past can we take, learn from, and grow with? How will the church of today build from where the church of the past was? What will the church look like? I lift the words of the Psalmist here – Remember your covenant, O God, your promises – be at work in your church, rebuild from where it has been weakened or where it is in ruins. Bring about new birth and change when necessary. Help us to learn from those who built, lived, and served before us. Remember, remember, remember.

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