“Not to grieve is to deny the reality of love.”N.T. Wright
In as much we know the deep goodness of this world, we know too that it is deeply broken. Our communities are frayed by disease and violence. Our families are untethered by social separation so that our elders shrink in isolation and marriages dissolve under the tension of close quarters. Our minds and hearts are attacked with fear and despondency or frustration and anger. The brokenness of our world can feel very close and very real these days. If you sense some underlying, unspoken angst, it very well may be unexpressed grief.
In our age, we have lost the art of grieving. Public expressions of grief are kept to the memorial service, and the sackcloth and ashes of the Old Testament prophets generally make us feel uncomfortable. While I knew that the Bible writers often expressed their grief, somehow it had hit me only this week that there is a whole book of the Bible called Lamentations! Clearly, the acknowledgement what is broken was spoken by the prophets, but such grief was also explicitly expressed by Jesus.
I’ve never been much for dramas depicting Bible stories. Probably because they never quite measure up to my imagination of the events. But I recall one notable exception–a monologue during Holy Week of today’s reading from Matthew. The actor literally shook and wept as he cried, “O Jerusalem.” We all sat stunned at the power of our Savior’s grief.
In our prayers this week, we move from finding joy in what is good to lamenting the ways those deeply good things are marred by our sin. We recognize that our sin breaks our lives, families, and communities, but it also breaks God’s heart.
So our goal this week is not to wallow in the pit despair or anxiously wring our hands in worry, but to join our hearts to the God who grieves with us, laying down the broken fragments of our lives at the feet of our Lord.
- Psalm 53
- Lamentations 2:19
- Matthew 23:37-39
- John 11:32-38a
Recommended Listening There is much to be said on this topic, so I’ve shared a couple of links from those who say it well.