Thursday, 9 May 2013

Thursday - Church lament

Prayer:  Lord,  in Your love You have given us Your salvation.   Your salvation is filled with love and peace and joy.   We come before You today knowing that we are surrounded by Your love and Your peace and Your joy.   Through the salvation of Your Son our Lord,  we thank You.  Amen.

Luke 13: 31 - 35

Some Pharisees come up to Jesus and suggest that he leave and go elsewhere as Herod the King wants to kill Jesus.

Jesus replies for the Pharisees to go tell “that fox”  (that cunning and evil man named Herod) that Jesus will drive out demons and heal people day by day and in due time Jesus’ taskings will be complete.  Jesus will not be rushed nor pushed into leaving town until all healings are complete.

Then Luke writes Jesus’ lament for Jerusalem in verses 34 to 35.     Today we really don’t use the word “lament” so we have rather lost the utmost sorrow – the grief and deep regret  that the word lament brings.    In bagpipe tunes,  there are many laments.   And each of the lament tunes are sorrowful (some people think that all bagpipe tunes are sorrowful!). 

Jesus’  lament includes many Old Testament images--  killing of prophets,   trying to gather the children of Israel like a hen gathering her chicks but failing,  an empty house.    Dismal.

Yet Jesus ends of this conversation with the Pharisees with one single phrase.   “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD”.    This phrase is taken from Psalm 118:  26.  This psalm was a song of thanksgiving used by the Priest as he led the people into worship.

The Pharisees knew the use of this Psalm.  What must they have thought of Jesus’ words?
The use of this Psalm would definitely make the Pharisees think.

How do we as a Church lament today?   While our Church has become prolific at whining,  do we as a Church lament?    When people from the congregation die,  do we as a Church grieve together?   Do we lament together?       Grieving and lamenting is part of our life cycle as well as being an important part of the Church’s life cycle.   If a Church can not grieve and lament together,  then unhealthy-ness settles into the Church.  When a Church learns to grieve and lament together,  the Church becomes the centre of God’s love and peace.

Prayer:   Lord,  now let Your servants depart in peace.  For our eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared in the sight of all people.  A light for revelation to all nations.   This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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