Tuesday, 22 May 2012

texting lamentations

Lamentexting, tough words for tough times, briefly. 07729056452

Lam1-2 Lamentations has 3v21-24 at its centre, the rest of the poetry builds to or builds from. There are so many degrees of abstraction between this lament and my own, but letting it speak its impact comes like bruises after bruises. Sitting with one this morning who has had devastation upon devastation. Lamentations, hard to capture what tragedy feels like, how it is like drowning, like the world shifting and falling. The mind turns away from our own 1v9 shame, and v18 guilt, it is too much. And how much more pain upon pain, devastation upon devastation. It is not so much that this pain cannot be rationalised under some response to the problem of evil, but that devastation enters your guts and your eyes, changes your sense of touch and sight, it changes the way we pray, the way we orient ourselves. Pray that I always journey towards mercy, and find God in painful places. Pray hard for those who have suffered devastation upon devastation, pray hard for ones in lament. Pray for devastated communities, war-torn, living with brokenness upon brokenness. Jesus, oh break in on devastation.

Lam3-4 (1) Know that you have permission to lament (2) Lament towards Jesus (3) Lament against irony (4) Lament in Hope. (1) The outpouring at Diana's death was a lament in lieu. So many have had their permission to grieve withheld by notions of 'normal'. But the world is not as it should be, do not allow statistical notions of average to keep us from a sensitivity to brokenness. So, counselling and ways we can, by listening, free people from expectations to present themselves as not-broken. So, also, collective structural platforms for lament. The A to Z acrostic of Lamentations is a deliberate, premeditated exercise in the truth, and therapeutic good, of lament. (2) Jesus died for sins we committed, omitted, had committed against us. Jesus died for our shame v59-63. We can be unashamed – blameless shameless beloved. Lamenting names our shames and offers them to Jesus. (3) Lamenting against irony. An ironic disposition is a salve for hurt unlamented, a mask for a despondency which knows not the hope of 3v22. The humour of cruel irony is a releasing of pressure from that tank of unlamented brokenness, a sharing in an unsaid contract which suspects that there is nowhere to take our lament. (4) By contrast, we can lament, in no mere social-realist endless dead-end of Mike Leigh's widows 1v1 – rather, we have a Sovereign v37-39, who is our portion v24, who hears us v56 and whose mercy surpasses the judgement we deserve for our infinite sinfulness v42. Lamenting is an expression of hope from a low place, a looking up. v21 Actively call to mind, so to Hope. Through Pr13v21 to 1Cor13v7. We need hope, we need to actively call to mind his mercies, so to have Hope for all things lamentable.

Lam5 Pray for mercy. Mercy is real, grace is substantial. So Christianised I in my socialisation it is necessary to come to mercy grace again and again with new eyes. These are not just ideas, they can be seen with the eyes & felt in the gut as pain & evil can. Goodness is a mystery, but we cannot disbelieve it, as one on Sunday betrayed, though we may not be able to give the necessary and sufficient conditions of goodness, we can identify it when we see it, as Acts14v17 God fills the heart with joy, Rom1v20 God is to be found, even in your lament. We cannot but know good and evil when we taste them, this is what makes us rejoicing & lamenting creatures. Goodness, grace & mercy the greater mystery, and where there is mercy, God shows her face. We can see mercy, wherever there is Is61 beauty from ashes, where flowers are given a kitchen rather than a skip, where the abused child forgives her parents taste & see, and continue to believe in v21 restoration, and in the God who authors this restoration. Believe in mercy, pray for mercy, mercy is more than a good idea, it is as real as your lament, and it Jm2v13 will triumph. Mercy is not flimsy, mercy is our new paradigm, mercy grace can be our own words and way, beyond what we could be, left to our own devices, not playing to the tune of the world's wisdom. Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Thank you for new mornings, new mercies. Thank you for remaking us each day, thank you that your mercy is so substantial.

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