When the roads to Zion mourn…

amahoroorangedress

The week moved fast with controversy, but slow with grace. The magnanimous inched along like amber molasses, slowly shining, but outpaced by hot hostilities burning through my internet neighborhood.

In the aftermath there’ve been a few cloistered conversations with thoughtful friends. These discussions about evangelicalism, ecumenicalism, art and faithful translation happened in the alleys behind the internet streets. In quiet hallways we huddled down for gentle conversations with one another. Maybe we were licking our wounds, too.

Yesterday a friend returned from an internet fast of sorts. She returned to find traces of the battles, the carnage of hateful tweets and mean-spirited status updates and all the rest. Her voice cracked. Through the phone I heard her heaving, her sobbing. At this point words ceased.

She mustered enough composure to say, “All I can do is cry.”

And I thought – crying is the most holy response of all. Lament is the proper posture (or lack there of) after last week. So I told her to lean into the tears – because they testify to what is most true today.

The pure prophetic potency of our lament says that we know deep in our bones that things aren’t right. We are shalom-hungry people, even when it’s beyond our present sightline. We carry an ache for the world set right, for a love wide enough for God and neighbor and our very self.

We know too well the pain of disjointed bones, the heated friction, the inability to walk strong when we are out of sorts. We need alignment. We need to be recalibrated by Love, by Wisdom, by God’s kindness and bottomless mercy. Because we are the feet to bring good news across mountains and rough terrain – and we must be ready to run strong with shalom-stamina.

So for now we weep. We don’t argue, debate, define or draw lines between us and them. We don’t ascribe blame, farewell one another, vilify, demonize, weaponize our words or absolutize our beliefs. Maybe we don’t even try to understand, explain, build bridges and mend fences – yet. Maybe for today we just cry hot tears of grief about the week that broke our hearts.

We sing along with the dirge of Lamentations, given to us as wisdom for days like these…

Bitterly she weeps at night,

Tears on her cheeks.

Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her.

All her friends have betrayed her;

They have become her enemies…

 

The roads to Zion mourn,

For no one comes to her appointed festivals,

All her gateways are desolate,

Her priests groan, her young women grieve,

And she is in bitter anguish…

 

This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears.

No one is near to comfort me,

No one to restore my spirit.

My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed.

 

Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her.

 -Lamentations 1:2,4,16,17

When the roads to Zion mourn, we do likewise.

We weep now… confident that joy comes in the morning.

 

 

 

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13 thoughts on “When the roads to Zion mourn…”

  1. Rob Stegmann
     ·  Reply

    Thanks for this moving, thought provoking piece. I find the laments of the OT to be such beautiful words that somehow give us permission, bodily permission to free us from the deceit of pretending all is well, all is shalom, when it is not. They are the closest thing we have to what happens when we engage in a moment of truth-telling, and then just sitting with it all, heart in hand, and tears running down our cheeks. Sitting. Waiting. Bodies exposed and vulnerable. At the. Nil point.

  2. sandy hay
     ·  Reply

    Kelley, this is the first of your blogs I’ve read.
    The word that comes to my mind is piercing. Not in a harmful way but as a nurse would pierce a pustule to clean out the infection. Initially there’s pain and weeping but gradually there’s healing.

  3. Terisa Clark
     ·  Reply

    Beautifully expressed, Kelley. Understanding and even resolution are often created in the profoundly simple act of shared lament and mourning.
    I must have missed something. I’m not aware of the source of your pain in this past week.
    But I will pray for those who are mourning and anticipate with you, the joyous breakthrough that awaits.

  4. Fiona Lynne
     ·  Reply

    Oh this. “The pure prophetic potency of our lament says that we know deep in our bones that things aren’t right.”
    I’m preparing a sermon for Palm Sunday and so struck by the moment Jesus reaches the summit and sees Jerusalem and starts weeping with grief. This post reminded me of that moment. Lament is sometimes the only appropriate response.

  5. terry
     ·  Reply

    Thanks so much. Exactly what I needed to hear today.

  6. Sherry Naron
     ·  Reply

    I love you. Thanks for listening to me blubber and reminding me that it’s ok to just be sad at the fighting and what/who we may have lost in the process.

  7. Angie Washington
     ·  Reply

    These words:
    “In the aftermath there’ve been a few cloistered conversations with thoughtful friends. These discussions about evangelicalism, ecumenicalism, art and faithful translation happened in the alleys behind the internet streets.”
    Wow, Kelley. Such alluring words, such truth. As our screens have grown flatter our interactions have become much more superficial. May we not lose hope of deepening connections in true communion one with another.

  8. terry wilson
     ·  Reply

    “The pure prophetic potency of our lament says that we know deep in our bones that things aren’t right. We are shalom-hungry people, even when it’s beyond our present sightline. We carry an ache for the world set right, for a love wide enough for God and neighbor and our very self.”
    I love this Kelly. We really are a shalom-hungry people aren’t we. It was a rough week for many. Confusing. Frustrating. And Sad not even for myself but for others. Your words are wise though. Thanks for putting things in perspective.

  9. Stephanie
     ·  Reply

    In this season of Lent I sit with the question “what am I hungry for?” and with the quest to be open to the feast that this hunger will lead me to.
    This piece speaks to those questions in my soul today. Thank you.
    Shalom

  10. Tara
     ·  Reply

    I feel this. Beautiful words, thank you.

  11. Nicole Joshua
     ·  Reply

    I love how you created sacred space, safe space to grieve and to allow pain to run its course. Poignant. Beautiful. Thank you, Kelley.

  12. Idelette
     ·  Reply

    Holy beautiful. Lament, indeed.

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