25th July 2021
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
BIBLE READINGS - MICAH 1:2-11 & LUKE 13:31-35
Hear, you peoples, all of you, listen, earth and all who live in it, that the Sovereign Lord may bear witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.
3 Look! The Lord is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth. 4 The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope. 5 All this is because of Jacob’s transgression, because of the sins of the people of Israel. What is Jacob’s transgression? Is it not Samaria? What is Judah’s high place? Is it not Jerusalem?
6 “Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations. 7 All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used.”
8 Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. 9 For Samaria’s plague is incurable; it has spread to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself. 10 Tell it not in Gath[a]; weep not at all. In Beth Ophrah[b] roll in the dust. 11 Pass by naked and in shame, you who live in Shaphir.[c] Those who live in Zaanan[d] will not come out. Beth Ezel is in mourning; it no longer protects you.
31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[b]”
On the whole the Christian Church (especially perhaps the Salvation Army) is good at rejoicing but not so good at lament.
Yet there is much in Scripture that echoes with lament: not only the two portions we shared.
Micah saw that the sins of his people were leading to destruction……and it drove him to anguish
Jesus saw how His people rejected His offer of love and it broke His heart. You can almost hear his sobs as He wept ‘O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem……’
There is much in OUR world to lament over and we should face it:-
People Trafficking. Men , women and children are bought and sold for domestic service, car washing, nail bars, the sex trade and much more.
Inequalities in Covid vaccinations. More people have been vaccinated in the U,K. Than the whole of Africa
Unfair Trade. Many of the world’s producers are paid a pittance for their goods, whilst the purchasers make inordinate profit. For example most Cocoa producers cannot afford the price of a bar of chocolate
Lack of education for girls who are viewed as second class citizens, at best…….and one could go on.
So, how should we respond? May I suggest AAA. Perhaps you could buy yourself a triple A battery to remind you.
The first A is for Anguish.
It is my sisters and brothers who are being bought and sold;
my brothers and sisters dying of Covid whilst the wealthy world stores ‘surplus’ vaccine:
my brothers and sisters who cannot adequately feed their children or give them education because they are not properly paid for the food or drinks that they grow
my sisters who are denied Ed.
It ought to break our hearts
One of Studdert Kennedy’s poems contain the lines
“Is there no pain in the heart of the Eternal, is there no sword to pierce the heart of God? Then must He be a fiend of Hell infernal, beating the earth to pieces with His rod.
Father, if He the Christ is Thy revealer, truly the first-begotten of the Lord,
Then must Thou be a sufferer and a healer, pierced to the heart by the terror of the sword”
I am convinced that our God calls us to to share His heartbreak.
But not to wallow in misery
Our second A is Anger
The outcome of our anguish should not be to say “Oh, what a shame” but to call out to the world, ”This should not be! This is intolerable! One day we will answer at the Bar of Judgement.
Nor can we let our Anger be the end of it
The third A then is Action
What can we actually DO?
A few suggestions
Write to our MPs
Letters to the Press, etc
You can do more than pray, once you have prayed
You cannot do more than pray until you have prayed
Prayer that is committed to open ourselves to God until we discover HIS anguish, HIS anger and hear His call to action in His Name
God bless you.
Thank you for reading
Prepared by Majors Marie and Alan Hickman