Living Lamentations

Lamentations is one of my favorite books in the Old Testament.

It is a book of highly structured poetry that focuses on the wailing, mourning and, of course, lamentation or Jewish refugees. I love the way that the author is able to express deep, raw, human suffering and still maintain an aesthetic beauty.

It was written as a reflection on the pain of being a displaced people, who are theologically frustrated, socially disrupted and left to drift without a clear path to the God who is their only hope.

It reminds me of the power that having a space and a context to express the darkness and depth of human suffering. It demonstrates to me that suffering is, in it’s very nature a way to God.

It has kept me sane for many years.

Even though most of the book demonstrates the crushing weight of human guilt and sin. Verses 22-33 are some of the most hope filled lines of poetry found in the whole of scripture.

When I read Lamentations I am reminded that repentance and confession are things that must be done daily. I am often distracted in today’s world by cheery promises and prosperity messages. These come through preachers, politicians and advertisers. We are constantly bombarded with a message that the solution to pain in this world is rooted in having the right faith, political system, or possessions.

None of these things address the reality that we are people who bring our own destruction with us every day. Lamentation keeps me on my knees in a world that seeks to keep me running after my own passions and sins.


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