O My God (Lamentation #1)
Sitting with pastor friends on a Zoom call today, Ian wondered aloud, “How long is an acceptable period of lamentation?” When words fail us, when we can no longer watch the news or scroll through social media, when we helplessly see the pain and can do nothing about it. Do we pedal faster through the Kebler-Ross grief cycle? How long do we sit in the helplessness?
Twelve years ago, I received some very sage advice from a church member. “Remember,” he said, “everyone mourns at a different pace.” Some people are ready to move on from quarantines and physical distancing. Some people are ready to move on from race rallies and riots. Some people want to go back. Some people want to fast forward.
I’m not comfortable here, but I’m not ready to go there. Here is right where I need to be.
(The hook ‘O my God’ comes from a Jars of Clay song entitled, “O My God”. As does some of the imagery. If you want to listen to a lamentation, check that one out.)
O My God (Lamentation #1)
O my God, look around this place,
We have destroyed more than we have built,
We have broken more than we have created,
We have desecrated more than we have consecrated.
O my God, why are we so afraid?
We have distorted your image—
Trying to make you look like us,
Rather than make us look like you.
We are possessed by our possessions.
We are ignorant to our vanity, pride, power, and privilege.
We have learned neither equality nor equity nor justice.
O my God, can we complain?
Every school, every bank, every courtroom is skewed to our benefit.
The comforts of our cathedrals, the fortresses we call home,
Protect us and imprison us in our quest for more.
I lift my eyes to the hills, O my God, from where will my help come?
Our help will come from the Lord, clothed in sweatpants, sneakers, and a black tank top.
Our help will come from the Lord, masked, goggled and choking on mace.
Our help will come from the Lord, posing as brave children, weeping elders, courageous protestors, kneeling allies, praying saints and sinners.
Our help will come from the angry mothers, from the orphaned children, from the homeless users, from liars and fools.
I life my eyes to the hills—O my God—from where will our help come?
Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
God will not let our feet be moved; the One who keeps us will not slumber.
The who keeps us ALL will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is our keeper; the Lord is our shade at our right hand.
The sun shall not strike us by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep us from all evil; God will keep our lives.
The Lord will keep our going out and our coming in
from this time on and forevermore.
I love you.
I need you.
I hope for you.
Please be safe.