Our sermon series is on the book of Lamentations. The book teaches us to mourn and lament in loss.
The chapters are acrostics. This means that each line begins with a different letter of the alphabet, in order. As we come to chapter 3, this is reinforced. Each Hebrew letter is used twice.
So in chapter 3 the writer is giving us the ‘A-Z’ about suffering. They are reinforcing how awful it is; and how important it is that we grieve and lament. But in the middle we see just a glimmer of a new dawn, that transformation that comes in God as we grieve. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases“. This is a person who has lost and who yet has hope. This too is something we are taught in this ‘A to Z’.
There is one thing that cannot be taken away even if everything else is lost: the freedom to choose (as the neurologist Victor Frankl discovered in the concentration camps of World War 2.) And the writer of lamentations begins to make that choice, out of and in the midst of grief. Grief is the flower bed of new hope. Come on, he says to us - make that choice also.
Of course the Bible has more to say. We see this especially as we come to the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord. And yet we see him in surprising places – washing the feet of other people, and dying on the cross. He redefines what lordship means.
Where do we see Christ as Lord today?
We see Christ as Lord as you care for someone, as you attend to the sick, as you weep with the grieving, as you seek justice, as you are merciful and forgiving, and in all the places Jesus refers to in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). In these and other ways is the lordship of Christ seen. In these ways does his kingdom come.
And in the midst of your trauma, he is the Lord there also. But as Christ shares in our trauma through the cross he gives us hope.
Even the worst of traumas – Jesus’ death on across – led to a new dawn in the resurrection of Easter Day.
Darkness is but the sign that a new dawn is coming.
May it be for you.