Psalm 37 | 2 Timothy 1:6-12 | Lamentations 5
Sunday's text came from the book of Lamentations. Lamentations is small book of poetry, originally titled "How" in the original Hebrew language. It is a poet's response to the flattening of Jerusalem. Devastated by the fall of their beloved city, the poet who wrote Lamentations, cries out to God with a frustrated honesty that we do not often see in churches. The book ends with the ominous line, "Renew our days of old...unless you have utterly rejected us and are exceedingly angry with us." We like our bible stories to end with ribbons tied tight around packaged morals. But Lamentations invites something else.
First, it invites an honesty in worship. Churches have praise teams, but not lament teams. We are more prone to preach on Paul's command to "Rejoice!" than on Lamentations command to grieve. But Lamentations, like many Psalms or stories in the gospels of Christ's grief, invite us to be honest with our questions, fears, and griefs.
The second invitation of Lamentations is to listen to the pain and grief of those who can relate to the poet's words. The city of Aleppo came to mind. Like Jerusalem in 587 BC, today, Aleppo is laid to waste. Mohammad Fouad is a refuge from Aleppo whose poem, Aleppo Diaries, could not help but remind me of Lamentations. So too the poetry and longing of the black community in Chicago. The pain and longing of these marginalized communities is not so unlike the longings of Lamentations, and we are invited to embrace their grief and pain-to sit and hear their stories.
Lamentations invites us to go deeper with our partner Breakthrough Urban Ministries, who is in the business of sitting with the marginalized, lamenting with them, and working alongside of them towards restoration. Robert Rush, an employee of Breakthrough, joined us on Sunday and shared a word about his work with Breakthrough. He reminded us that God is in the business of restoration and that we get to be a part of that work as well.
Lamentations encourages us to sit around tables with people unlike us. It encourages us to prioritize stories over statistics. Grab coffee with someone different than you. Invite a family over to share a meal. Learn someone's stories. To be human is to be for others. This is the example that Christ leaves us. Lamentations invites us to embrace this reality by being for others in the grief and pain.
This Sunday, we focused locally on our city of Chicago. Take a moment to pray for the city of Chicago.
We pray for Andrew, Amy and Irene Fields. We thank you that they are settling in to Colombian life, making friends and connecting to a good church life. We pray for peace to end conflict that that has lasted over 50 years. We ask that as the Colombian people vote today to accept or reject the peace accord that your Spirit may begin to heal the injustice that has led to lack of trust and discord. Overall, we pray for peace, forgiveness, and hope in this nation.
We pray for our young people in the Chicago area. From threats from violence to proper funding needed for our public school system, our young people are often in the wake of political decisions. We pray that there may be an agreement in the coming days to keep keep kids in school as it is a safe environment for their growth. Provide wisdom to us and the leaders of our city to work together for things that benefit our children.
Lord in your mercy...Hear our prayer
- Thanks to everyone for joining us at Beer and Hymns Sunday night. Check out the pictures below and put December 11th on your calendar for the next chance to join us at beer and hymns.
- Sunday, October 9th is the Chicago Marathon. Our worship service will be at 5:00PM at Nettelhorst due to road closures for the marathon.
- Community Dinners are October 17-22. These dinners are a great chance to grab dinner with folks in our community. Simply sign up for a day that is free and Caleb will email you to confirm that date, and will connect you with your host. Fill out this form to get signed up!