“Christian Communities must learn how to work vigorously for the limited change that is possible, to mourn over persistent and seemingly ineradicable evils, and to celebrate the good whenever it happens.” - M. Volf
This quote is helpful because it helps us to consider what it means to be reconciled to lament - that in lent, we learn more about the at-times tragic nature of our lives in Jesus
Reconciled - be willing to more to the same ground and exchange with.
This seems like something we’re prefer to avoid or at least delay until it inevitably comes on us.
Why make peace with lament? Why be willing to be reconciled to wailing about the world? Why position ourselves closer to pain?
Because it is everywhere. The pain of the world is everywhere.
It is global. Even this week, there was the incident in Christhchurch - 50 people died and the same were wounded as a white nationalist opened fire on 2 mosques in New Zealand
And we could go on and on week after week with the consequences of this world working against itself
…and it is local
In spite of being in the wealthiest county in the state by 40k a household
In spite of having amongst the lowest rates of obesity and heart disease in the state
We still have stories like those at Family Promise, which are indicative of still the broken circumstances, even in the wealthiest of places
In Delaware County, top likelihood to be in poverty are W in their 20s and 30s, and boys below 18.
How are aren’t reconciled
We can hear these things and withdraw away.
Our “citizenship in heaven” can become a ticket out, a way not to have to carry the lament, because we’re removed from it.
But our commonwealth is meant be shared. We can’t just depart from what’s happening in the world. The gifts grace and hope within difficult circumstances, of community are waiting to be shared. To not share the gifts of the place where carry our Spiritual citizenship would be a lamentable tragedy itself.
How are are reconciled to lament.
In fellow-imitation. The word is related to symmetry. We try to be symmetrical. Paul is encouraging the church to be symmetrical to Paul, who was being symmetrical to Jesus.
And that symmetry requires some grief at the way the world is - not always criticism, not always withdrawal, but the wailing at the reality of a broken world. Symmetry of the heart.
But in that, it also means that we move forward into it to witness the moments of redemption of resurrection along the way. Symmetry of the body and action.
Christ could have abandoned the work of health when the people said he would. It would have been a withdrawal from the brokenness of powerful people worried their control would slip.
Instead, he did his work as long as he was here. He responded to the brokenness of the world with healing.
Christ’s reconciliation to lament was not avoidance but in the desire to move closer to the brokenness of the world fully aware that it might not result in restoration.
Jesus wanted to bring all the people together under his wing like a hen, even though they didn’t want to.
What’s a practical example here?
Where our house is, is across the street from the only low-income census tract in Delaware County. (At least 50% of household make under 60% of the Area Median Gross Income - under 45k for the family)
Lots of conversation about Woodward Elementary
Those were loving, thoughtful comments to protect us and our kids, maybe lamenting, but also with hints of withdrawal.
We can literally avoid poverty in Delaware if we choose to.
But instead, what is it like to launch into it headlong? What would it be like to use our laments towards action and healing?
Reading in the school, providing tutoring
Getting to know the churches and finding ways to partner
Maybe there are people who aren’t interested in our care, but should that stop us?
In our laments, there is still good news - our celebrations of the small goods are resurrection.