From Celebration to Lamentation


Confirmation Sunday was a great celebration! It is always remarkable to stand by the confirmands and those praying with them as our Bishop Philip speaks the words of knowledge and the Confirmation prayer over them. It has a “rippling effect,” as does the courage of the saints when they stand boldly proclaiming the gospel in word and deed as +Philip mentioned.

But this week the Scriptures will move us from Celebration to Lamentation, and that will take some work beforehand.

To do so, I want you to prepare for Sunday’s lessons by putting yourself in the shoes of an Israelite in 587 BC when Jerusalem was destroyed. The city you loved and lived in is gone. A foreign army has come and killed most of your neighbors, has taken captive the ruling class, and has left only a few people to work and keep the land. In fact, your king fled under cover of darkness slipping through a gap in the city wall only to be hunted down like a dog, brought before the conquering king, have his eyes put out, and sent to Babylon the conquering land. The glorious temple that King Solomon had built for the worship of the living God glory 373 years prior lay in ruins. And every precious item that was used in worshiping God has been plundered and hauled back to Babylon. The roads that lead to the city and the temple are no longer marked by the songs of pilgrims drawing near to worship but by dead bodies.

The book of Lamentations was written in the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the majority of Judah being led into captivity by their enemy Babylon. The book records five different poems each in acrostic form. These poems were composed in order to remember and give voice to the lament of the people in the wake of this devastating loss. The acrostic form demonstrates the poems’ highly artistic and liturgically useful nature.

This Sunday we’ll take a closer look at Lamentations and the circumstances around its composition. What will God speak to us as we proclaim this word of lament?

See you Sunday -