December 18, 2013

Life comes

By Kathryn Schmidt, assistant professor of music
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (NRSV)

Life comes.

Last fall, I found myself alone in a parking lot near my car, clutching my swollen belly (beautiful belly!) and bawling. Hiccups. Groans. A sad end to a lovely pre-natal appointment.

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel… Stir up your might and come to save us!”

We didn’t have enough money. The life-joy within me—now, a source of betrayal. “O God! Why did you bring us here, where babies cost money to be born? Money we do not have?!”

“You make us the scorn of our neighbors…”

Like the vine (v. 8), we had been transplanted and were trying to set down roots. But there were so many obstacles to overcome.

“You have fed them with the bread of tears. You have made them drink tears by the bowlful.”

But with God all things are possible! There has to be enough! This child, this fluttering of wondrous life will come whether there is money or not. Because life comes. Life came to Mary that cold evening with the bleating of goats, the stamping of hooves. No money. (No room in the inn.) But life! Sweet, bloody life bursting forth in a gush of warmth.

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

Our baby came, and there was enough. As for Mary, in a heave of abandon and with a bowlful of tears, she brought us Life.

Life comes.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (NRSV)


To the leader: on Lilies, a Covenant. Of Asaph. A Psalm.
1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
4 O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us the scorn[a] of our neighbors;
our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.


17 But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one whom you made strong for yourself.
18 Then we will never turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call on your name.
19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.



Comments (9)

  1. A very touching comment on our lives and the psalm. God with us in our every day life.

    Alvaro December 18, 2013 |
  2. Did I ever need to read this today. In this Holiday season-assailed suddenly by a cold snap we didn’t expect-there is not enough oil in the furnace. An unexpected flat tire on the way home from work sapped the cash put by for a much-needed oil change. A thoughtless mistake on the checking account was painfully costly. Thanks for reminding me that-somehow-there will be enough. Because He-who sent his own Son to be born in a stable-will provide.

    Mary Hughes December 18, 2013 |
    • This reminds me of a time when I longed to be at home for Christmas but could not. A very meaningful time provided by God which gave me lasting memories of the time He provided for me.

      Mary K. Mishler December 18, 2013 |
  3. Thank you, Kathryn, for a moving and real rendition of waiting, fearing and earthy reality. God does indeed provide for us who are aware of the divine in the midst of it all. I have found this to be true, though often in hind sight.

    Shirley B Yoder December 18, 2013 |
  4. What a beautiful thought you brought to us today thank you

    Bob December 18, 2013 |
  5. I am very thankful to live in Canada. It may not be perfect, but we do not have to worry about paying for essential services such as basic health care.

    Doreen December 18, 2013 |
  6. What a wonderful message. Thank you for sharing.

    Sam December 18, 2013 |
  7. Kathryn, how beautiful. God, indeed, does provide, even in the face of seeming impossibility. You and your family are incarnate signs of God’s kingdom here on earth, doing its messy, wondrous living. Thank you for sharing so candidly and clearly how God works.

    Deb Brubaker December 18, 2013 |
  8. I loved your devotion….for me it read like poetry!

    Barbara Clark December 18, 2013 |