Advent: Born to Set the People Free

Psalm 80

Prayer for Israel’s Restoration

To the leader: on Lilies, a Covenant. Of Asaph. A Psalm.

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbours;
our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call on your name.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Isaiah 64:1-9
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.
You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
and do not remember iniquity for ever.
Now consider, we are all your people.

Advent’s Anticipation

As I breathe in the world around me,
tears streak my face.
All is not right.
A haze clouds my vision;
continuous noise clogs my ears.
Hate and greed pollute the air.

Choked, I cough,
“Where is our God?”
Surrounded and overwhelmed,
resignation’s temptation draws me near.
In the depths of my soul,
hoping against hope,
I cry, “Restore us!”

And I waited.
In cold silence
the inner light, the vital
heat of life, dims.
Memories lose their color
in my exhale
as life loses its warmth.

But now,
in the distance,
just over the hill,
though now faint,
I hear a voice,
an echo,
Carried by trees.

through centuries long,
a message comes.
In cacophony of night
I think I hear God cry,
“I am coming.”

Jeremiah Hamby

Jeremiah Hamby is the Admissions Counselor for McAfee School of Theology. He earned his MDiv and MA in Religion from Gardner-Webb University in 2021 along with a Graduate Certificate in English Studies in 2022 and a BS in Psychology in 2016. In his free time, Jeremiah loves to visit local coffee shops, play French Horn, and travel with his wife. Jeremiah originally hails from North Carolina but is excited to explore and become connected in the greater Atlanta area.