Opening Prayer: God of the tabernacle and temple, buildings can stand only if they are built on a strong foundation. As we study, may our faith be strengthened into an unshakable foundation on which we can build our lives. Amen
These two readings discuss Jerusalem at different times in history.
In Lamentations, Jerusalem has been destroyed. The people wonder if their faith is lost. they believe the city is lost.
Scripture: Lamentations 5:1-22
Remember, Lord, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace. 2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners. 3 We have become fatherless, our mothers are widows. 4 We must buy the water we drink; our wood can be had only at a price. 5 we are weary and find no rest.Those who pursue us are at our heels; 6 We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread.7 Our ancestors sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment.8 Slaves rule over us, and there is no one to free us from their hands.9 We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert.10 Our skin is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger.11 Women have been violated in Zion, and virgins in the towns of Judah.12 Princes have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect.13 Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.14 The elders are gone from the city gate; the young men have stopped their music.15 Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning.16 The crown has fallen from our head.Woe to us, for we have sinned! 17 Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim18 for Mount Zion, which lies desolate, with jackals prowling over it.19 You, Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation.20 Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? 21 Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old 22 unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.
In verse 1 we notice the use of us and our.
Verse 16 & 20 People acknowledge their sin as the source of the situation, and challenge God, demanding to know why God seems absent.
Verse 21 communicates despair - that God will have rejected the people once and for all with no opportunity for redemption or renewal
Jerusalem is not lost forever, final destruction is decades away.
Scripture: Luke 23:26-31
26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
We don’t know who these women are. They might be friends or professional mourners. Jesus tells “them to Weep for yourselves and your city.”
Bruce Springsteen’s song “my City of Ruins” was written to revitalize Asbury Park, New Jersey It has become a song of revitalization for many cities.
We have many laments in life. “Some day the Earth will Weep”
Trust in the God of hope when we lament over our polluted waters our polluted air, our polluted oceans. We lament over broken families, We lament over events in our lives.
No matter if we lament individually or as a group,
ALWAYS lament in hope.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.