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    The Porch for April 7 19
    Lent 5 – Psalm 126

    Superscription:
    • A Song of Ascents – possibly a group of psalms used as Jews made pilgrimages to                                                                                                  Jerusalem – reciting as they walked

    Structure:
    • gratitude for past (vv.1-3) and hope for restoration (vv.4-6)

    Verses

    v.1
    • What does it feel like to be restored to the presence of God? (a dream)
    o Have you felt apart from God?
    o Do you feel restored now? (generally?)
    o What changed?

    • What is the character of God according to this Psalm?
    o What is the character of humans?

    • Who are “those who dream”?
    o What do they dream about?

    • MLK said “I have a dream!” – What is the psalmist’s dream?
    • What is our dream????

    • What kinds of things hold us captive?
    • Has theology ever held you captive?

    v.2
    • “The nations” means other countries/ethnicities – even they saw God’s gifts?
    • Why do you think it’s harder to stay in God’s presence when circumstances are poorer?
    • Do those outside “see” the good things God has done at/through our church?

    v.3
    • Do you characterize things as being “done” by the Lord?
    o Why? Why not?

    • What do you think people who use that language mean?
    • What do you attribute your good things to?
    • Is God in it at all?

    v.4 – watercourse in the Negeb (desert)
    “God’s work to restore his people is compared to a dry wadi in the Negeb. For months on end, the wadi remains a wasteland where survival of any living thing remains in doubt.
    But in a moment, as the sky opens up and the torrents of rain begin, the wadi turns from a life depriving site to a life sustaining source. That is what restoration looks like. That is what the community longs for — to know the great works of God and to relish in the full, life-giving power that will come with this reversal.” [Working Preacher]
    · When do we want it?

    v.5 – sow tears reap joy
    • What does “reap what you sow” mean?
    • What then do you make of this verse?
    • What does it mean to “sow in tears”?

    v.6
    • What happens to the tears? Are they taken away?
    “The tears become the joy. Somehow the joy grows out of the sorrow. The sadness is what births the laughter.”• Does sowing guarantee a harvest? Discuss. Not sowing?

    Anticipation and hope of the potential harvest!

    Faith United (an amalgamation of churches) grew out of tears, sadness, weeping – hope, nurture – are we still waiting for the harvest? Has it already come?

    Thoughts

    • Where in the world are people “sowing tears”?
    • Is there a hope for a harvest of joy?

    Joy is not simple happiness or things going well. Joy is deeper!

    From tears of weeping to tears of joy…

    No quick fix – sowing takes time to grow

    Instant gratification culture = too shallow, too superficial, too instantaneous

    Real healing and restoration are like tending crops…

    What are we sowing today?

    Sowing and waiting is extremely counter cultural

    Restoration
    • Something to reflect on: What in your life needs restoration/healing?

    What in the lives of non-church folk needs restoration and healing?

    How can we teach the world to sow in tears and wait in hope?

    Shalom!

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