Pathways through Lent, Uncategorized

Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent

O Lord, you have enticed me,
and I was enticed;

you have overpowered me,
and you have prevailed.

I have become a laughingstock all day long;
everyone mocks me.

For whenever I speak, I must cry out,
I must shout, “Violence and destruction!”

For the word of the Lord has become for me
a reproach and derision all day long.

If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”

then within me there is something like a burning fire
shut up in my bones;

I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.

For I hear many whispering:
“Terror is all around!

Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
All my close friends are watching for me to stumble.

“Perhaps he can be enticed,
and we can prevail against him,
and take our revenge on him.”

But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior;
therefore my persecutors will stumble,
and they will not prevail.

They will be greatly shamed,
for they will not succeed.

Their eternal dishonor
will never be forgotten.

O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous,
you see the heart and the mind;

let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.

Sing to the Lord;
praise the Lord!

For he has delivered the life of the needy
from the hands of evildoers.

Jeremiah 20:7-13

 
In the Book of Jeremiah, the Prophet Jeremiah tells the story of his call and four years of prophesying. As a prophet, Jeremiah intercedes between God and God’s people, calling the people to amend their ways and turn their hearts to God. He warns the people of Judah of approaching disaster and calls them to repentance. The people do not listen—trapping Jeremiah between the integrity of his call as a prophet and the demands of those with whom he lives. Verse 7 brings the reader into Jeremiah’s personal lament:

O Lord, you have enticed me,
and I was enticed;

you have overpowered me,
and you have prevailed.

I have become a laughingstock all day long;
Everyone mocks me.

The prophet’s language, as he rails against God and the people, brings the reader into the depths of his despair. We palpably feel the gripping hold of the tension of the forces at play in his struggle. We see the sincerity of his lament, and we feel his anguish.

Stepping into Jeremiah’s intimate conversation with God also allows us to look at our own struggles, at the external and internal forces in our own lives. Jeremiah provides us a model of prayer and lament in taking our struggles to God. Are there tensions in our own lives between our environment and the ways God calls us to live our lives? Lament, as a form of prayer, might help with those tensions. Let us not be afraid to use lament to take tensions and struggles to God in intimate conversation. In doing so, we, like Jeremiah, will find hope:

Sing to the Lord,
praise the Lord!

For he has delivered the life of the needy
from the hands of evildoers.

There is hope because God promises to be with us. Trust that God is with us.

Marilyn Jenkins

Jeremiah 20:7-13, Psalm 18:1-7, John 10:31-42

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s