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Lament not Despair

For years I have reflected upon the concept of “going toward something so that it does not chase us” (more about that in this Sunday’s sermons- join us Sunday in Zoom 9amMT or in person at both 9am and 11am). Jesus is going toward Jerusalem.

This Sunday we hear Jesus’ Lament over Jerusalem in Luke 13:31-35 . He is going toward the city where he will put on trial, convicted and then taken just outside the city to be crucified. As he is heading toward Jerusalem we hear the deep sorrow and mourning of Jesus. Jesus uses the metaphor of a hen and her chicks - of how he regrets that he could not envelope the people as a mother hen her brood. Jesus is lamenting not despairing.

To lament: to feel or express sorrow or regret for, to mourn for or over.

To despair: to lose, give up, or be without hope.

How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Luke 13:34b

Can you hear Jesus’ deep sorrow? Into every heartache and heart break we enter we can trust that Jesus knows every sorrow. As world events unfold and together we see the horrors of warfare played out over and over again- I am hearing around me the fears and temptations to fall into despair. In worship this Sunday we will take time to lament. We can go toward to the heartache and heart break of our broken world.

To lament may be a skill we need to cultivate in a culture in which we are often encouraged to separate our hearts from our heads. We are not designed to view the treachery and evils of war in a 24 hours endless news cycle. It does not invite lament or guide us toward an effective response. It is can be a source of deep despair. Despair will immobilize and numb us.

Jesus is going toward the pain not away from it. Trusting in his purpose and fulfilling his call he moves forward. Beloved children of God we too are invited to move forward in our purposes and fulfill our callings. Together we get to live in both a deep trust of God and bear witness to the pain of the world not as only observers also as followers of Jesus. Thus we allow for both lamenting and discerning how we are called to live out the good news of God’s love in Christ.

So together we get to both feel the depth of the sorrow and lament. Together we can then walk alongside one another as we ask God, “ How would you have us respond? Guide us in your will and your ways.”. This Sundays’ appointed Psalm 27 is one of trust. The photo at the top of this post is of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. In this week’s Wednesday morning Lectio one of people who reflected upon our gospel reading shared how Jesus was committed to keep on “casting out demons and performing cures”. The demon of despair is hard at work in our world right now. May our community lament allow room for the Jesus to cast out that demon and aid in our healing.

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