ISSL Reflections April 25, 2021, Lamentations 5 Post 1

If you sent out an invitation to a “pity” party you would probably get some folk RSVP’ing. But what if the invitation was for sharing your “anguish,” your deepest pains? Maybe not so many would want to come?

Yet our Scripture focus this week from the closing chapter of the book of Lamentations puts before us a deeply felt and experienced corporate lament that draws us to the people’s pain at the destruction of Jerusalem.

Notice this lament, this prayer, begins with,

Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us;
look, and see our disgrace!

At times our prayer lives are so “restrained,” this might be the extent of our “lamenting.” Not so here.

Take time to read these words and take time to process some of the pain expressed by this community, and see how they can express their pain to their God.

Lamentations 5

Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us;
look, and see our disgrace!

Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
our homes to aliens.

We have become orphans, fatherless;
our mothers are like widows.

We must pay for the water we drink;
the wood we get must be bought.

With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven;
we are weary, we are given no rest.

We have made a pact with Egypt and Assyria,
to get enough bread.

Our ancestors sinned; they are no more,
and we bear their iniquities.

Slaves rule over us;
there is no one to deliver us from their hand.

We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
because of the sword in the wilderness.

Our skin is black as an oven
from the scorching heat of famine.

Women are raped in Zion,
virgins in the towns of Judah.

Princes are hung up by their hands;
no respect is shown to the elders.

Young men are compelled to grind,
and boys stagger under loads of wood.

The old men have left the city gate,
the young men their music.

The joy of our hearts has ceased;
our dancing has been turned to mourning.

The crown has fallen from our head;
woe to us, for we have sinned!

Because of this our hearts are sick,
because of these things our eyes have grown dim:

because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate;
jackals prowl over it.

But you, O Lord, reign forever;
your throne endures to all generations.

Why have you forgotten us completely?
Why have you forsaken us these many days?

Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored;
renew our days as of old—

unless you have utterly rejected us,
and are angry with us beyond measure.

Does this prayer feel uplifting to you or does it make you uncomfortable? Or maybe even both?

Can you think of a time you wanted to express this much pain to God? What did you do? Why?

What strikes you as the deepest pain this prayer expresses?

Over the next days, let’s spend time with their lamenting and see what it might tell us about how we can approach God.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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