Wong Fong Yang
The book of Lamentations
This book teaches us to lament for our sins and prayers. When life is overwhelming, this is our prayers: lament.
The Yad Vashem remembrance center has a children's memorial hall where 1.5 million were killed. Each name is read aloud. Each image of is horrific. The death train reminds us of evil. (Likewise in the Covid pandemic, each person is lost.)
Under Babylonian seige, Jerusalem plunged into extreme hunger. The temple was looted and destroyed. The best and brightest were whisked off to Babylon while those remained languished in poverty and destruction. They lived in anguish and misery.
What do we lament for?
1. Lost former glory
The city that was a "queen" has become a "slave." The eternal city set up by David has become dust and rubble.
+ We lament past glories.
2. Weeping alone
The lovers and friends that Judah made treaties to battle babylonel ended up betraying Israel. Israel was like a disconsolate widow whose "children have gone into exile."
Life's most painful experience is to be betrayed or deserted by friends.
+ We lament the absence of comfort and shattered dreams.
The temple was destroyed, treasures looted and building torn down. No More place to celebrate.
In the pandemic, we cannot feel or comfort each other or fellowship. We long for chat, games, prayer
+ We lament the loss of gatherings and celebrations
4. Food loss
Under siege, people were willing to give up treasure for food and water. Children starved.
+ We lament the loss of food.
5. Leaders shamed
Israel's king was humiliated, his eyes gorged out. The nation was ridiculed by nation states.
+ We lament our pitiable state and condition.
As we lament, what do we acknowledge?
1. We are unclean. We are sinful - Lamentations 1:5
2. We are rebellious. We go against his commands 1:18
All our actions have consequences. When we lament, we acknowledge the presence of sin in our world and guilt in our lives.
Lord, not every suffering is linked to our own sin. It could be the sin of others. But in our cry to you, we are thankful for your presence and your person who identifies with us in your sin and suffering.
Lord we repent on behalf of others and for ourselves. Have mercy on us, sinners.