Lamentations 3, 22 – 30
Something to read
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in him.’
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for one to bear
the yoke in youth,
to sit alone in silence
when the Lord has imposed it,
to put one’s mouth to the dust
(there may yet be hope),
to give one’s cheek to the smiter,
and be filled with insults.
Something to think about
People in pastoral ministry learn about the stages of grief; shock, denial, anger, deep sadness.
There is wisdom in these words from Lamentations; they remind us that there are times when it is good to sit alone silently, laying down all the busyness, noise and distraction we use to defend ourselves from the experience and painful emotions of deep grief, regret, guilt, loss.
For by the grace and deliverance of God, if we make space to name and lament what we have lost, to repent hurts we have caused, there comes a time when we are able to let go of clinging to a broken past and move forward into new life.
Climate change is bringing about great natural and human catastrophe and suffering.
In the last 35 years alone, the human species has destroyed one-third of its non-renewable resources. We are losing around 10,000 species of life every year. In the west, perhaps we are somewhere between denial and anger with regard to climate change.
But the sadness will come, as it has for those who have either experienced or studied in depth the scale of what is happening. Such immense sorrow can have a paralysing effect.
The biblical tradition of lamentation – the public voicing of pain - is one important way in which people in huge crisis have responded and sought to find a way through their disempowerment.
The poems of the book of Lamentations are still used today in both Jewish and Christian liturgy. They have allowed people to name their loss, their complicity and their fear, to turn passive despair into active mourning and to release the energy trapped in maintaining denial into energy for action and change.
Lamentation has been an important aspect of all movements for justice, peace and freedom.
Something to do
Spend some time in silence thinking about all humankind has lost in the last 35 years. Let yourself feel the sadness of that. Offer it up.
Something to pray
Lord, by the glories of your creation, which we did not devise,
by the assurance of your freeing us, which we could not accomplish,
By the wind of your Spirit, fanning our faith to flame,
fill us with life anew.
George MacLeod, adapted
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