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Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

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Shield of Episcopal Church

Upcoming Activities:

Next Meeting:

We meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.

Annual Special Projects


Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

Resolution on Church Buildings and Grounds

Resolution on Creation Season

Resolution on Green Congregations



Lectionary Reflection

Year A, Advent 4
Revised Common Lectionary

Psalm 80: 1-7, 16-18 (Revised Common Lectionary)

Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; *
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *
stir up your strength and come to help us.
Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
O LORD God of hosts, *
how long will you be angered
despite the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears; *
you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
You have made us the derision of our neighbors, *
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, *
the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
And so will we never turn away from you; *
give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.


Reflection on Psalm 80: 1-7, 16-18
by John G. Gibbs, PhD

The focus of all four texts in the Revised Common Lectionary is the good news ("gospel") for a whole community that they are collectively to be restored to wholeness of life ("salvation").

Psalm 80 is, as the HarperCollins NRSV Study Bible puts it (HarperOne, 2006), a "prayer for Israel's restoration." That theme is announced in the refrain, "Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved." That appeal is repeated twice with two words ("of hosts") added to proclaim the scope of God's sovereignty. Verse 14 adds this petition: "give us life, and we will call on your name."

The fragmented threatened life (vv. 12-13, 16) of a whole people depends on the good will of God, whose "smile" communicates divine benevolence. The whole creation is involved in God's relation to God's people, whether creation is an instrument of God's judgment (vv. 12-13, 16) or God's blessing (vv. 8-11)

Life and salvation are not private individual matters here. They are instead social concepts, as the words "us" and "we" signal, and as the prayer's address to "Shepherd of Israel" makes clear. Further, the "vine out of Egypt" (verse 8) is all Israel. Whoever penned this psalm sensed that "we are all in this together," and that restoration includes the whole people of God.

Printable version

To Reflections on other Readings for Year A, Advent 4:

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal)
Revised Common
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Psalm 24 or 24:1-7
Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18
(this page)
New Testament Lesson


John G. Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, resided in Park Rapids, MN, when he originally wrote this reflection in 2007. John and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John G. Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the website.


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