This week’s lectionary reading from the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) is Lamentations 3:22-33. This particular book of the Bible is not considered light reading. The name comes from the word “Lament” which according to www.merriam-webster.com means “to express sorrow, mourning, or regret for often demonstratively.” This book was likely written during the Exile in the 6th Century before the birth of Christ. The people had suffered the loss of their capitol city in Jerusalem as well as the Temple where Jewish people made pilgrimage to worship God.
The loss was such a theological blow that the author of Lamentations (often linked to Jeremiah) tries to see where the people may have brought this on themselves. One of the answers to a large-scale calamity seemed to be, “God is angry with us.”
However, the third chapter, which we’ll be exploring, shows why the Bible is so rich. It is actually a chapter of hope and counters God’s anger with the claim that God “does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.” (Lamentations 3:33, NRSV).
This Sunday, we will look at how can find hope in the face of trouble. My sermon title will be “God Loves Me Even if the Evidence Doesn’t Agree.”
Side note: Edmond First United Methodist Church youth (and many adults) will be at our main church camp, Camp Spark this week. It is held at Canyon Camp – our closest United Methodist campground. One of the reasons I still attend camp is that this is a wonderful time to get to know a large number of our church members (our church sends the largest number of campers by far). Please be in prayer for all of us. It is a time for fellowship but also for spiritual direction and maturity. My hope is that our youth will be closer to God and closer to one another (their neighbors) and that this will translate into a deeper sense of faith.
Check out more of Sam’s blog articles at www.precedinggrace.blogspot.com.
The photo above is from 2017 Camp Spark.