My Lamentations, part 1

LAMENTATION 1:1-2, 6-12

1How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal.

2She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has no one to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.

6From daughter Zion has departed all her majesty. Her princes have become like stags that find no pasture; they fled without strength before the pursuer.

7Jerusalem remembers, in the days of her affliction and wandering, all the precious things that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into the hand of the foe, and there was no one to help her, the foe looked on mocking over her downfall.

8Jerusalem sinned grievously, so she has become a mockery; all who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans, and turns her face away.

9Her uncleanness was in her skirts; she took no thought of her future; her downfall was appalling, with none to comfort her. “O LORD, look at my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed!”

10Enemies have stretched out their hands over all her precious things; she has even seen the nations invade her sanctuary, those whom you forbade to enter your congregation.

11All her people groan as they search for bread; they trade their treasures for food to revive their strength. Look, O LORD, and see how worthless I have become.

12Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the LORD inflicted on the day of his fierce anger.

I was a little surprised this morning to see that the daily lectionary jumped from Exodus to Lamentations. It feels appropriate for Holy week and maybe more so for me this holy week.

I identify strongly with these verses. Calamity didn’t fall upon Jerusalem because “shit happens”. Their calamity was of their own making. Jerusalem looks back on what she once had, knowing that her actions have caused her to lose what she once held dear. The language the prophets use for Jerusalem’s sins is often the language of adultery. She’s exposed herself to another. She has played the harlot. These are the consequences. She dropped her guard. She didn’t protect her boundaries. She and I are cut from the same cloth.

Yes, I identify with this. I know the feeling of being despised by those who once honored me. I know the feelings of friends turning against me and enemies appearing as if out of nowhere. I know the feeling of becoming a mockery. Oh, Jerusalem, our sins are the same and I know your pain. I wail with you. I cry for salvation and for mercy. I pray that one day the shame will stop.

God, hear my cry! I want this pain to end…

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