How lonely lies Jerusalem, once so full of people!
Once honored by the world, she is now like a widow;
The noblest of cities has fallen into slavery.
All night long she cries; tears run down her cheeks.
Of all her former friends, not one is left to comfort her.
Her allies have betrayed her and are all against her now.
Judah’s people are helpless slaves, forced away from home.
They live in other lands, with no place to call their own—
Surrounded by enemies, with no way to escape.
No one comes to the Temple now to worship on the holy days.
The young women who sang there suffer, and the priests can only groan.
The city gates stand empty, and Zion is in agony.
The thought of my pain, my homelessness, is bitter poison.
I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed.
Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing:
The LORD’s unfailing love and mercy still continue,
Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.
The LORD is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.
The LORD is good to everyone who trusts in him,
So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us
We cannot read these laments, without hearing the voices of our First Nations people and the longing for recognition and Treaty, our Asia-Pacific neighbours as their islands are subsumed by oceans, refugees caught in the midst of conflict, earthquakes groaning and the waterways roaring, the cries of species at the devastation of environments and waling of those with empty bellies and no homes. Lament is often not part of our society’s public voice, but it is intrinsic to human experience. Cries of grief and pain as a result of disrespect, degradation, disparity, denigration, damage and destruction, cannot go unnoticed to Christian people, for Jesus calls us to listen to these voices, to understand their pain and to act with compassionate justice. We cannot ignore the laments that flow freely in the very air that we breath. Listen with the Voices.
For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, God’s Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control. Do not be ashamed, then, of witnessing for our Lord; neither be ashamed of me, a prisoner for Christ’s sake. Instead, take your part in suffering for the Good News, as God gives you the strength for it. 2 Timothy 1:7-8
the voices are calling.
Yet, we do not hear their inner weeping.
Too busy, we fail to notice.
Too bereft, we lose our hope.
Too self-focused, we separate ourselves.
We are so sorry.
Every present God,
we hear the voices
from far across the horizons
and those whispering in our ears.
Too busy, we brush away their voice.
Too bereft, we feel hopeless to respond.
Too self-focused, we lose our Servant calling.
We are so sorry.
Our God, who is
fresh as the morning
and as sure as the sunrises,
refocus our lives,
refill us with hope,
regenerate our love,
this day, and everyday
so that our timidity and fear
dissolve in the clarity of faith,
that we may open our ears, eyes, hearts and minds,
listening to and learning from, the voices on the breath of the Spirit.
© Rev Anne Hewitt 28/09/2022