Excerpted from Keep Awake, an Advent Guide for Lectionary Year A from the North Carolina Council of Churches.
Psalm 71: 1-17
Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness
and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.
May he live while the sun endures
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
May he have dominion from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
May his foes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust.
May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles
render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
May all kings fall down before him,
all nations give him service.
For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.
Long may he live!
May gold of Sheba be given to him.
May prayer be made for him continually
and blessings invoked for him all day long.
May there be abundance of grain in the land;
may it wave on the tops of the mountains;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field.
May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed in him;
may they pronounce him happy.
As people of faith and conscience motivated by an ethical and moral commitment to the truth we must “stay awake” and deliver the message of Psalm 72 calling upon all who hold power in our society to be filled with the righteousness of love and compassion.
Inherent value resides in the life of each neighbor and every creature and we must be ever mindful of our calling to serve the multitudes of people throughout this nation and the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Within the larger cannon of faith traditions many people are committed to making the poor, displaced, and the marginalized the focus by which problems and solutions are analyzed. We are, as Dr. King said, “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
On this second Sunday of Advent, may we hold those with power accountable and recognize our own responsibilities amongst the powerful as we live into our faithfulness.
Make us worthy, Lord, to serve those people throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread, and by our understanding of love, give them peace and Joy. – Mother Teresa