Zion’s gates sank into the ground; he broke and shattered her bars;
her king and her officials are now among the nations. There is no Instruction![b]
Even her prophets couldn’t find a vision from the Lord.
Daughter Zion’s elders sit on the ground and mourn.
They throw dust on their heads; they put on mourning clothes.
Jerusalem’s young women bow their heads all the way to the ground.
Hebrews 7:26 It’s appropriate for us to have this kind of high priest: holy, innocent, incorrupt, separate from sinners, and raised high above the heavens. 27 He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day like the other high priests, first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. He did this once for all when he offered himself. 28 The Law appoints people who are prone to weakness as high priests, but the content of the solemn pledge, which came after the Law, appointed a Son who has been made perfect forever.
O (Observation): Today’s texts remind us of two very different points in the revelation of God and God’s overall story. In Lamentations, God’s people sense that God – in the form of Instruction, or Torah – has “left the building” so to speak. Their understanding of God’s presence was wrapped up in the physical presence of God in the book of Instruction and in the Temple, neither of which were present any longer (at least not perceived to be present). God’s people begin their Babylonian exile.
Fast forward to God’s story post-ascension of Jesus, post-Acts. Now we have a God being understood as a priest forever. But not just any priest. Jesus is now the priest forever. Nothing can separate God’s presence from God’s people now. For our priest is perfect, now and forever.
God is always “in the building.”
A (Application): In our heads, we get what the Hebrews text is speaking to. In our hearts, we can get mired down in the world of Lamentations.
THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL FOR US!!!
No shame is found in doubt or despair. As we discover (and re-discover) the story of God’s people, we are constantly being reminded that God’s people have (and will) experience moments or even seasons of doubt or despair.
How do we recall that our priest – Jesus – speaks to God for us, giving us freedom to act out of grace? We gather around the story as individuals and as community. We worship together. We serve together. We find ways to build relationships and ways to give to God and neighbor. Here, we rediscover God’s presence.
The story of God includes you. You are made in God’s image. Remember that this day. Remember that Jesus intercedes for you and brings your prayers to God. Jesus encourages you and me and all that seek grace.
Turn to God. Do so in community. See the grace flow.
P (Prayer): Gracious Jesus, sing for us, speak for us, when we can do neither. Amen.