Prepare to Listen. Light your candle of hope for the world. Pause in silence to listen with the ear of the heart to God’s Word today.
Prayerfully Read Lamentations 4:1-5
1 How the gold has grown dim, how the pure gold is changed!
The sacred stones lie scattered at the head of every street.
2 The precious children of Zion, worth their weight in fine gold--
how they are reckoned as earthen pots, the work of a potter’s hands!
3 Even the jackals offer the breast and nurse their young,
but my people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
4 The tongue of the infant sticks to the roof of its mouth for thirst;
the children beg for food, but no one gives them anything.
5 Those who feasted on delicacies perish in the streets;
those who were brought up in purple cling to ash heaps.
‘How the gold has grown dim, how the pure gold is changed!’ This isn’t about the economy (although today that has ‘dimmed’) but the nation. Once, before its destruction by Babylon, Judah was strong, like shiny gold, but now they’re dim and weak. Once they were together but now they have become like ‘scattered sacred stones,’ lost and unwanted. Instead of gold that could withstand enemy attack, they’ve become like pottery, vulnerable and breakable. Even the prosperous in the land had experienced reversals in their circumstances. Once they ate fine foods and dressed in expensive clothes but now they’re perishing in the streets, clinging to ash heaps (a reference to death and dying).
The picture painted in these verses is one with which many can identify today. We too are grieving reversals in our circumstances. Where once we enjoyed meeting friends for coffee and meals in our favorite restaurants, we now live isolated lives at home. The good clothes we enjoyed wearing hang in our closets, waiting for better days. Our nation, like gold has dimmed and its people are like sacred stones scattered in the streets, weak and vulnerable like pottery.
We grieve the reversal of circumstances that have made us like scattered stones in the streets. As we mourn our losses and reversal of circumstances, can we also open ourselves to the surprising new work God intends to do in and around us? Can we grieve and then make new choices, dream new dreams, discover healthier ways of being, healthier for us and for the world. Our grieving and mourning isn’t meant to plunge us into despair but lead us to restoration and newness. We pick up the ‘scattered sacred stones’ and find new ways to live with meaning.
How have your circumstances changed because of covid-10 and what is your complaint (lament)? Letting go the old life is necessary in order to take on the new God has planned for us. Begin envisioning a world after covid-19, a world that remains vulnerable and compassionate; a world concerned for justice and mercy for all.
Respond to Jesus
O Lord, the gold of your people has dimmed and many feel vulnerable and fearful. Come down and hear our complaint and act in your mercy. Give us courage to let go the old and new eyes to envision the new that truly does your will on earth as it is done in heaven. Amen.