A Long, Hot (and hard) Summer; A Modern Lamentation
The Biblical book of Lamentations is one we do not visit too often. It is difficult to read for the modern reader, or any reader. Lamentations is a collection of poetic “laments” that center around the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. The writings are bleak, God does not speak, and the description of Jerusalem’s destruction is strong and raw. Like other difficult texts, we have a tendency to skim through or even ignore such a book. But Lamentations has a very good and needed purpose in our bibles and in our lives. If we are in full relationship with God and with one another, we too need to have the spiritual wisdom to share our lamentations and sufferings right alongside our hopefulness and joy. We modern westerners find plenty of ways around our own lamentations, I invite you into the new practice naming them and even taking the step of coming into a loving relationship with them.
This summer has been one unlike any other. Don’t you feel that it has been extraordinarily hot, long, and hard? About a month ago my family went on vacation to one of our favorite lakes. I was looking forward to it so much. It rained almost every day we were there. We decided that vacation was like a microcosm of COVID: trying to make the best of a tough and unfortunate forecast. While that rain seems like a very distant (and now very welcome) memory, I reflect back at this whole summer as one of the longest and hottest (and hardest) of my life.
So then, let us be confident and mature enough to open up to God and one another about our honest laments. Understand that this holy movement is different than complaining or whining. Rather, it is slowing down to name the troubles and sorrows that are too often hidden behind our busy and fast-paced lives.
What modern lamentations would you speak or write out loud if given the opportunity?
Is it the lamentation of isolation?
Is it the lamentation of exhaustion?
Is it the lamentation of physical separation? Of mask wearing?
Could it be the lamentation of injustices?
The lamentation of divisive and hurtful politics?
The lamentation of anxiety and stress of work and schooling?
The lamentation of a separated family?
Friends, take the challenge to be spiritually mature and courageous enough to identify and name the lamentations of your heart. Name them and sit with them. Sit with them and hold them. Hold them and have an honest conversation with God about them. You’ll feel better if you do.