The book of Lamentations is a record of the prophet Jeremiah’s sorrow and grief over Jerusalem when it was captured and God’s people were exiled from his presence. Jeremiah’s words have often been seen as pointing to Jesus’ unique suffering on our behalf, bearing the wrath and judgment of God for our sins. We also find in Lamentations the hope of restoration through repentance and faith as we turn to God.
The central message of Lamentations is that of God’s sustaining grace in the midst of suffering. It’s a book that deals with the reality of pain, the destruction sin brings, and the certainty of God’s mercy. God draws near to his suffering saints. In Jesus Christ, God has drawn closer to us than could have been imagined—he has become one of us, sharing in all that we suffer in this fallen world. Remembering him and his cross, and the glory into which he entered (and into which we too shall enter), we trustingly submit to him and his fatherly governance of our lives with hope. Lamentations is a book of mourning, where we see the terrible aftermath of our rebellion against God, yet also find hope and healing.
Lent provides us a specific “appointed time” where we can tell God we hurt. We can come clean over failed relationships, broken promises, selfish greed, destructive pride, the times we have failed to love and cherish God and others. It is in confessing that we join with others before God in need of his renewal and his healing. Lament opens us up to not only healing but renewal.
We don’t do lament very well and we want to learn the language of biblical lament. The Holy Spirit works the even in the hells of our own making and brings renewal through the Messiah’s lament and work on the Cross.
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