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.
When the roads to Zion mourn, we do likewise.
We weep now… confident that joy comes in the morning.