Lamentations 3, 10 – 21
Because of the length of the readings, we are only publishing the NRSV version. To read the King James Version, please click here
Something to read
He is a bear lying in wait for me,
a lion in hiding;
he led me off my way and tore me to pieces;
he has made me desolate;
he bent his bow and set me
as a mark for his arrow.
He shot into my vitals
the arrows of his quiver;
I have become the laughing-stock of all my people,
the object of their taunt-songs all day long.
He has filled me with bitterness,
he has glutted me with wormwood.
He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, ‘Gone is my glory,
and all that I had hoped for from the Lord.’
The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
Something to think about
Today, we know that the earth which seemed to our ancestors to be unchanging, unassailable and enduring is actually in endless transition, that change is its only constant.
Of course, the changes take place on a timescale almost unimaginable to us, over millennia upon millennia, and mostly they are invisible to us, except where scientists have been able to interpret their observations.
But we also know now that the pace of change – geological, climactic, ecological - has been vastly accelerated by human activity and the evidence of that is all around us, visible and indeed unavoidable.
‘For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do’, wrote St Paul in another context. Humankind has not deliberately sought to degrade and destroy its habitat; mostly it has sought to improve it, for the human species at any rate.
But the determination to bend the earth to the will of humankind, to see ourselves as creator not created and the failure to recognize ourselves as a species among species, inextricably interdependent, is a judgement now being read back to us.
To be creature, one among many, is to come face to face with our limitations. We are not God, and God is not just an idealised version of us, sometimes expressed as if we had a monopoly on divine truth! God is other, and speaks to us in other voices.
Our judgement, our “wormwood and gall” is in truth, that which holds us most to account. This we call to mind, and therefore we have hope. For the steadfast love of our God never ceases.
Something to do
Have a look at Christian Aid's climate change pages. The take a climate justice action.
Something to pray
for our denial of the hurts and injustices of our history
for our wanton manipulation of our geography
for our neglect and abuse of tender and suffering bodies
for our refusal of the responsibilities of mutual relationship
Lord have mercy on us
CHRIST HAVE MERCY ON US
God is good.
On all whose lives are open to change
from guilt to grace
from fear to trust
from resentment to love
God pronounces forgiveness and gives peace.
Thanks be to God.
Today’s contributor is Kathy Galloway, Christian Aid’s Head of Team in Scotland, a practical theologian, activist and writer, and member, and former leader, of the Iona Community