Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, January 30, 2022

  • Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’
  • Music 1 (10:30am) Lynn/Abbie

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

  • Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick
  • Music 2                                                      Lynn/Abbie

Trust and Obey

  • Scripture (No slides just reader) Online – Grace
  • Beyond Our Marketplace Interview. (rick &online) Rick & Lita Sample
  • Music 3 Lynn/Abbie

Heart of Worship

  • Message Rick
  • Music 4 Lynn/Abbie

Special – (No Slides) Cornerstone

  • Benediction Dave 
  • Community (Gallery View) Rick
  • Closing Peace                                         Rick
  • Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Order

Sunday, January 30, 2022

  • Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’
  • Music 1 (10:30am) Lynn/Abbie

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

  • Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick
  • Music 2                                                      Lynn/Abbie

Trust and Obey

  • Scripture (No slides just reader) Online – Grace
  • Beyond Our Marketplace Interview. (rick &online) Rick & Lita Sample
  • Music 3 Lynn/Abbie

Heart of Worship

  • Message Rick
  • Music 4 Lynn/Abbie

Special – (No Slides) Cornerstone

  • Benediction Dave 
  • Community (Gallery View) Rick
  • Closing Peace                                         Rick
  • Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Words and Voices

Music 1 (7 Slides)

‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus (Trust In Jesus)

CCLI Song # 22609

Louisa M. R. Stead | William James Kirkpatrick

Verse 1

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to know thus saith the Lord

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Verse 2

O how sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to trust His cleansing blood
Just in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing cleansing flood

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Verse 4

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee
Precious Jesus Savior Friend
And I know that Thou art with me
Wilt be with me to the end

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

CCLI Song # 7067212

Aaron Shust | Paul Baloche

Chorus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Welcome/Prayer (No Slides)

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your unconditional love; Your goodness and Your loving-kindness to us and to all that are called by Your name. Great is Your faithfulness and we praise You – for You alone are worthy. Keep us low at the cross and help us to patiently wait for You in humble submission to Your Holy Spirit by trusting Your word of grace, even when we don’t understand – for You are good to those who wait for You. Help us to seek You with all our heart, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Music 2 (8 Slides)

Trust And Obey

CCLI Song # 22094

Daniel Brink Towner | John Henry Sammis

Verse 1

When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word
What a glory He sheds on our way
While we do His good will
He abides with us still
And with all who will trust and obey

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 2

Not a shadow can rise
Not a cloud in the skies
But His smile quickly drives it away
Not a doubt nor a fear
Not a sigh nor a tear
Can abide while we trust and obey

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 3

Not a burden we bear
Not a sorrow we share
But our toil He doth richly repay
Not a grief nor a loss
Not a frown nor a cross
But is blessed if we trust and obey

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 5

Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way
What He says we will do
Where He sends we will go
Never fear only trust and obey

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Scripture (No Slides)

Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us; look, and see our disgrace! Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to aliens. 

We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows. 

We must pay for the water we drink; the wood we get must be bought. With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven; we are weary, we are given no rest. 

We have made a pact with Egypt and Assyria, to get enough bread. 

Our ancestors sinned; they are no more, and we bear their iniquities.

Lamentations 5:1-7

Beyond Our Marketplace w/Rick and Lita Sample (1 intro slide)

We last spoke with Rick and Lita Samples about 5 months ago as they prepared to welcome the refugees from Afghan arriving over the holiday season. This morning we welcome them back as we seek to go beyond our marketplace.

Questions:

  1. Share with us what you did over Christmas to minister to the Afghans?
  2. On our last visit you shared of the disillusionment of some of the Afghans with their faith and faith practices. Have some come to a recognition of Jesus?
  3. What are your Afghan ministry plans for 2022?
  4. Could you share a bit of the pain the Afghans have experienced?

Music 3 (6 Slides)

The Heart Of Worship

CCLI Song # 2296522

Matt Redman

Verse 1

When the music fades all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

Pre-Chorus

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You all about You Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You all about You Jesus

Verse 2

King of endless worth no one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor all I have is Yours
Ev’ry single breath

Pre-Chorus

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You all about You Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You all about You Jesus

Message – Response Time (13 Slides)

Understanding the journey of another is usually an impossible feat. We are told that to understand the pain of another person’s misery we must walk a mile in their shoes. Usually a mile is insufficient to truly grasp the depths of hopelessness and pain of another. That is a challenge that Rick and Lita face in their ministry with the Afghan and other immigrants and refugees. To probe the stories of the fear and desperation of lives markedly different than your own, to gain an empathy of their never-ending struggles.

In the classic To Kill A Mockingbird, Father Atticus Finch attempts to enlighten his daughter Scout as he tells her,

[Slide]“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” 
– Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Marcus Aurelius, considered to be the last ‘Good’ Roman Emperor wrote,

[Slide]“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” 
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
 

Poet Maya Angelou stated,

[Slide]“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” 
– Maya Angelou

This was the journey of Jesus, crawling into human skin, walking around in it for an entire human lifetime. We have seen Jesus come to grasp the suffering as he traveled to the oppressed communities, as he confronted the unbearable deep loss of the death of a friend, as he looked into the eyes of a woman facing a brutal death due to her gender, and on multiple times as he experienced very real and deep seated rejection. 

Tomorrow, our son Isaiah will begin a series of tests to determine what is going on with his heart. These tests will look at his heart and cardio system as he is put through a series of environments such as stress, work, and rest. 

While the focus for Isaiah will be on his physical heart, the experiences of the Israelites throughout the old testament, especially before, during, and after the Babylonian exile acts as a test for their metaphorical heart. The core of their being. We get to see the prophetic warnings for over a century before the exile, we see the gradual awakening among the Israelites during the exile, and we see the struggles following the exile. What is even more significant however, is that this heart testing reveals our own hearts to us.

One perspective we seldom have about the exile is the situation back in Jerusalem for those not forced into exile. These individuals were the unwanted, these that were deemed useless or counter productive. Jeremiah was left behind, the Babylonians didn’t want to hear his messages anymore than the Isrealites – and in the description given in the book of Lamentations we see the others that remained were basically the priests and the young girls. These were left to a fruitless and unproductive land, a defenseless city, and temple in crumbles. For them, life in slavery looked better than their hopelessness and despair.

The five depressing poetic chapters of Lamentations was probably written by Jeremiah, one of the prophets who attempted to warn the people of the coming exile. His is a first hand account of the suffering and pain of himself and those that remained.  

The Hebrew title for Lamentations, sepher and ‘êkâ   – meaning readings ‘The Book of How.” Laments, in general, just explain the on going suffering and usually, the reason for the suffering. They provide no promise of hope or deliverance only an understanding of the pain. 

These are not just an opportunity for moaning and complaining. Lamentations comes from the ailing heart of a narrator (probably Jeremiah) and the young girls. There is a back and forth of these first hand voices expressing the pain. While there is not a solution, Lamentations gives us the heart journey of these, and, at the same time, the heart journey of those in exile. Basically, Lamentations is a journey with a destination of repentance. The basic narrative is to explain the agonizing situation but scattered throughout are voices of evolving recognition of personal responsibility for at least a portion of their situation.

Jerusalem, who is described as a disregarded woman, comes to a personal guilt but also a selfish blame and vengeance.

[Slide]The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word; but hear, all you peoples, and behold my suffering; my young women and young men have gone into captivity. I called to my lovers but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city while seeking food to revive their strength.

[Slide]See, O Lord, how distressed I am; my stomach churns, my heart is wrung within me, because I have been very rebellious. In the street the sword bereaves; in the house it is like death. They heard how I was groaning, with no one to comfort me. 

[Slide]All my enemies heard of my trouble; they are glad that you have done it. Bring on the day you have announced, and let them be as I am. Let all their evil doing come before you; and deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my transgressions: for my groans are many and my heart is faint.

Lamentations 1:18-22

Can you see that, a recognition of personal responsibility that is still intertwined with a hesitancy, not a full unconditional recognition of guilt – not an immersion that leads to full repentance. Then let’s look at the final words in chapter 5.

[Slide]But you, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations. Why have you forgotten us completely? Why have you forsaken us these many days Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old—unless you have utterly rejected us, and are angry with us beyond measure.

Lamentations 5:19-22

It took awhile but eventually Lamentations gets to a point where responsibility is not encumbered with conditions or even blame – instead there is a recognition of ‘my part’ as well as an understanding that God is just.

Owning up to our roll even in our suffering, or the suffering of others, requires a release of pride and arrogance. This is not easy for us humans, especially when our primary goal is to hide in the garden so no one can see our nakedness, our faults, our failures. Right now we see this playing out across our own country, a refusal to take an honest look at, not only our ancestors part in oppression but also a genuine unchartered dive into our continued role. The largest Christian denomination in the US has been unable over the past years to even come up with a condemnation of White Christian Nationalism.


We don’t like to feel guilty. We don’t want our status quo challenged. We don’t like admitting our mistakes. 

The truth is, however, that we still life in a world full of credible laments and God calls on us to listen and consider, to let the Holy Spirit move revealing the truth of our own responsibility.

We can deny, we resist accepting our own part. We can defend ourselves, we can fight, we can blame, we can argue against the validity of the Lament process while denying all personal responsibility. Or, we can let down our guard and own our responsibility, we can listen, we can learn, we challenge ourself, we let Jesus’ embrace of all people become our heart.

Biblical scholar Walter Bouzard writes, 

[Slide]“It is likely true that these Laments are not immediately applicable in every North American context. Oh, there have been moments in our collective history where our national self-understanding was shaken by violence and war, where some among us were left wondering about God’s agency in the world’s catastrophes. 

[Slide]The tragic events of 9/11 serve as one stark example another is the Sandy Hook Elementary school slaughter late in 2012.  Communities whose lack of means and political power has left them devastated and with a real sense of having been forsaken by God. 

[Slide]Such people, such communities, are given Laments, words, to bring before God in the poetry of Lamentations. The lament of Jerusalem reminds us that such pain is actually experienced on a daily basis around the globe and down the street. By hearing their pain and by seeking deep empathy with them, we can join our prayers to theirs. 

[Slide]We can implore the LORD on their behalf, offering lamentations for those who cannot hear their own voices in the din of explosions and the over the cries of their anguish. 

[Slide]Who knows? By empathetically weeping with those who hurt far away and with those who suffer in our own contexts, we may come to love them. And if we come authentically to love them, our eyes might even be opened to see that the Lord to whom we cry out together is already there — wherever they are — among the broken and suffering in our world. 

[Slide]Jesus is there, wounded, pierced, weeping, but speaking a quite promise of a reign of God that will yet come. Oh, maranatha! (1 Corinthians 16:22).”

In listening to the laments of others we ask God for an empathy, we ask for God’s love. It is then that we are ready for our own epiphany, our own realization of even our own part in the Laments, maybe our own responsibility. 

In Boston this past week, Isaiah and I walked past the oldest continuously maintained Victory garden since WW2. You have probably heard of these, it was all part of American’s taking their responsibility in the Lament of the war. Shared sacrifice. The simple act of growing vegetable in a public manner or in your own yard, a way of accepting responsibility for the war. They also rationed resources, paid war taxes, went to work to fill manpower needs, and much more, just to do their part.

We all have a part in the world. How we treat others, how we encourage and support the downtrodden, hearing and considering our part in the Laments of the world, sacrificing our comfort when we do not have to do so. We are all called to avail ourself to God’s empathy.

We are all called to transformation in the midst of our own Laments as well as the Laments of others.

Let’s Pray

Music 4 (7 Slides)

Cornerstone

CCLI Song # 6158927

Edward Mote | Eric Liljero | Jonas Myrin | Reuben Morgan | William Batchelder Bradbury

Verse 1

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name

Chorus

Christ alone cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all

Verse 2

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

Chorus

Christ alone cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all

Verse 3

When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless stand before the throne

Chorus

Christ alone cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all

Benediction (4 Slides)

Reader: As we leave from here, we go into a world of pain and suffering.

Response: As we leave from here we go into a world of Laments.

Reader: May we choose to listen and not turn away from their stories.

Response: May we choose to remember that Jesus embraced everyone.

Reader: We go from here remembering that God created everyone.

Response: We go from here choosing love for everyone.

Reader: May we choose to hear, may we choose to accept, may we embrace.

Response: May we seek empathy as we pray for all.

Community (No Slides)

  • Winter Bible Studies in February waiting on covid
  • Next Sunday – 

Peace (3 Slides)

As you leave this place may the peace of the Lord go with you.

And also with you.

Go in peace.

Music 1 (7 Slides)

‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus (Trust In Jesus)

CCLI Song # 22609

Louisa M. R. Stead | William James Kirkpatrick

Verse 1

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to know thus saith the Lord

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Verse 2

O how sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to trust His cleansing blood
Just in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing cleansing flood

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Verse 4

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee
Precious Jesus Savior Friend
And I know that Thou art with me
Wilt be with me to the end

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

CCLI Song # 7067212

Aaron Shust | Paul Baloche

Chorus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Welcome/Prayer (No Slides)

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your unconditional love; Your goodness and Your loving-kindness to us and to all that are called by Your name. Great is Your faithfulness and we praise You – for You alone are worthy. Keep us low at the cross and help us to patiently wait for You in humble submission to Your Holy Spirit by trusting Your word of grace, even when we don’t understand – for You are good to those who wait for You. Help us to seek You with all our heart, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Music 2 (8 Slides)

Trust And Obey

CCLI Song # 22094

Daniel Brink Towner | John Henry Sammis

Verse 1

When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word
What a glory He sheds on our way
While we do His good will
He abides with us still
And with all who will trust and obey

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 2

Not a shadow can rise
Not a cloud in the skies
But His smile quickly drives it away
Not a doubt nor a fear
Not a sigh nor a tear
Can abide while we trust and obey

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 3

Not a burden we bear
Not a sorrow we share
But our toil He doth richly repay
Not a grief nor a loss
Not a frown nor a cross
But is blessed if we trust and obey

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 5

Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way
What He says we will do
Where He sends we will go
Never fear only trust and obey

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Scripture (No Slides)

Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us; look, and see our disgrace! Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to aliens. 

We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows. 

We must pay for the water we drink; the wood we get must be bought. With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven; we are weary, we are given no rest. 

We have made a pact with Egypt and Assyria, to get enough bread. 

Our ancestors sinned; they are no more, and we bear their iniquities.

Lamentations 5:1-7

Beyond Our Marketplace w/Rick and Lita Sample (1 intro slide)

We last spoke with Rick and Lita Samples about 5 months ago as they prepared to welcome the refugees from Afghan arriving over the holiday season. This morning we welcome them back as we seek to go beyond our marketplace.

Questions:

  1. Share with us what you did over Christmas to minister to the Afghans?
  2. On our last visit you shared of the disillusionment of some of the Afghans with their faith and faith practices. Have some come to a recognition of Jesus?
  3. What are your Afghan ministry plans for 2022?
  4. Could you share a bit of the pain the Afghans have experienced?

Music 3 (6 Slides)

The Heart Of Worship

CCLI Song # 2296522

Matt Redman

Verse 1

When the music fades all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

Pre-Chorus

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You all about You Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You all about You Jesus

Verse 2

King of endless worth no one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor all I have is Yours
Ev’ry single breath

Pre-Chorus

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You all about You Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You all about You Jesus

Message – Response Time (13 Slides)

Understanding the journey of another is usually an impossible feat. We are told that to understand the pain of another person’s misery we must walk a mile in their shoes. Usually a mile is insufficient to truly grasp the depths of hopelessness and pain of another. That is a challenge that Rick and Lita face in their ministry with the Afghan and other immigrants and refugees. To probe the stories of the fear and desperation of lives markedly different than your own, to gain an empathy of their never-ending struggles.

In the classic To Kill A Mockingbird, Father Atticus Finch attempts to enlighten his daughter Scout as he tells her,

[Slide]“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” 
– Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Marcus Aurelius, considered to be the last ‘Good’ Roman Emperor wrote,

[Slide]“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” 
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
 

Poet Maya Angelou stated,

[Slide]“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” 
– Maya Angelou

This was the journey of Jesus, crawling into human skin, walking around in it for an entire human lifetime. We have seen Jesus come to grasp the suffering as he traveled to the oppressed communities, as he confronted the unbearable deep loss of the death of a friend, as he looked into the eyes of a woman facing a brutal death due to her gender, and on multiple times as he experienced very real and deep seated rejection. 

Tomorrow, our son Isaiah will begin a series of tests to determine what is going on with his heart. These tests will look at his heart and cardio system as he is put through a series of environments such as stress, work, and rest. 

While the focus for Isaiah will be on his physical heart, the experiences of the Israelites throughout the old testament, especially before, during, and after the Babylonian exile acts as a test for their metaphorical heart. The core of their being. We get to see the prophetic warnings for over a century before the exile, we see the gradual awakening among the Israelites during the exile, and we see the struggles following the exile. What is even more significant however, is that this heart testing reveals our own hearts to us.

One perspective we seldom have about the exile is the situation back in Jerusalem for those not forced into exile. These individuals were the unwanted, these that were deemed useless or counter productive. Jeremiah was left behind, the Babylonians didn’t want to hear his messages anymore than the Isrealites – and in the description given in the book of Lamentations we see the others that remained were basically the priests and the young girls. These were left to a fruitless and unproductive land, a defenseless city, and temple in crumbles. For them, life in slavery looked better than their hopelessness and despair.

The five depressing poetic chapters of Lamentations was probably written by Jeremiah, one of the prophets who attempted to warn the people of the coming exile. His is a first hand account of the suffering and pain of himself and those that remained.  

The Hebrew title for Lamentations, sepher and ‘êkâ   – meaning readings ‘The Book of How.” Laments, in general, just explain the on going suffering and usually, the reason for the suffering. They provide no promise of hope or deliverance only an understanding of the pain. 

These are not just an opportunity for moaning and complaining. Lamentations comes from the ailing heart of a narrator (probably Jeremiah) and the young girls. There is a back and forth of these first hand voices expressing the pain. While there is not a solution, Lamentations gives us the heart journey of these, and, at the same time, the heart journey of those in exile. Basically, Lamentations is a journey with a destination of repentance. The basic narrative is to explain the agonizing situation but scattered throughout are voices of evolving recognition of personal responsibility for at least a portion of their situation.

Jerusalem, who is described as a disregarded woman, comes to a personal guilt but also a selfish blame and vengeance.

[Slide]The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word; but hear, all you peoples, and behold my suffering; my young women and young men have gone into captivity. I called to my lovers but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city while seeking food to revive their strength.

[Slide]See, O Lord, how distressed I am; my stomach churns, my heart is wrung within me, because I have been very rebellious. In the street the sword bereaves; in the house it is like death. They heard how I was groaning, with no one to comfort me. 

[Slide]All my enemies heard of my trouble; they are glad that you have done it. Bring on the day you have announced, and let them be as I am. Let all their evil doing come before you; and deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my transgressions: for my groans are many and my heart is faint.

Lamentations 1:18-22

Can you see that, a recognition of personal responsibility that is still intertwined with a hesitancy, not a full unconditional recognition of guilt – not an immersion that leads to full repentance. Then let’s look at the final words in chapter 5.

[Slide]But you, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations. Why have you forgotten us completely? Why have you forsaken us these many days Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old—unless you have utterly rejected us, and are angry with us beyond measure.

Lamentations 5:19-22

It took awhile but eventually Lamentations gets to a point where responsibility is not encumbered with conditions or even blame – instead there is a recognition of ‘my part’ as well as an understanding that God is just.

Owning up to our roll even in our suffering, or the suffering of others, requires a release of pride and arrogance. This is not easy for us humans, especially when our primary goal is to hide in the garden so no one can see our nakedness, our faults, our failures. Right now we see this playing out across our own country, a refusal to take an honest look at, not only our ancestors part in oppression but also a genuine unchartered dive into our continued role. The largest Christian denomination in the US has been unable over the past years to even come up with a condemnation of White Christian Nationalism.


We don’t like to feel guilty. We don’t want our status quo challenged. We don’t like admitting our mistakes. 

The truth is, however, that we still life in a world full of credible laments and God calls on us to listen and consider, to let the Holy Spirit move revealing the truth of our own responsibility.

We can deny, we resist accepting our own part. We can defend ourselves, we can fight, we can blame, we can argue against the validity of the Lament process while denying all personal responsibility. Or, we can let down our guard and own our responsibility, we can listen, we can learn, we challenge ourself, we let Jesus’ embrace of all people become our heart.

Biblical scholar Walter Bouzard writes, 

[Slide]“It is likely true that these Laments are not immediately applicable in every North American context. Oh, there have been moments in our collective history where our national self-understanding was shaken by violence and war, where some among us were left wondering about God’s agency in the world’s catastrophes. 

[Slide]The tragic events of 9/11 serve as one stark example another is the Sandy Hook Elementary school slaughter late in 2012.  Communities whose lack of means and political power has left them devastated and with a real sense of having been forsaken by God. 

[Slide]Such people, such communities, are given Laments, words, to bring before God in the poetry of Lamentations. The lament of Jerusalem reminds us that such pain is actually experienced on a daily basis around the globe and down the street. By hearing their pain and by seeking deep empathy with them, we can join our prayers to theirs. 

[Slide]We can implore the LORD on their behalf, offering lamentations for those who cannot hear their own voices in the din of explosions and the over the cries of their anguish. 

[Slide]Who knows? By empathetically weeping with those who hurt far away and with those who suffer in our own contexts, we may come to love them. And if we come authentically to love them, our eyes might even be opened to see that the Lord to whom we cry out together is already there — wherever they are — among the broken and suffering in our world. 

[Slide]Jesus is there, wounded, pierced, weeping, but speaking a quite promise of a reign of God that will yet come. Oh, maranatha! (1 Corinthians 16:22).”

In listening to the laments of others we ask God for an empathy, we ask for God’s love. It is then that we are ready for our own epiphany, our own realization of even our own part in the Laments, maybe our own responsibility. 

In Boston this past week, Isaiah and I walked past the oldest continuously maintained Victory garden since WW2. You have probably heard of these, it was all part of American’s taking their responsibility in the Lament of the war. Shared sacrifice. The simple act of growing vegetable in a public manner or in your own yard, a way of accepting responsibility for the war. They also rationed resources, paid war taxes, went to work to fill manpower needs, and much more, just to do their part.

We all have a part in the world. How we treat others, how we encourage and support the downtrodden, hearing and considering our part in the Laments of the world, sacrificing our comfort when we do not have to do so. We are all called to avail ourself to God’s empathy.

We are all called to transformation in the midst of our own Laments as well as the Laments of others.

Let’s Pray

Music 4 (7 Slides)

Cornerstone

CCLI Song # 6158927

Edward Mote | Eric Liljero | Jonas Myrin | Reuben Morgan | William Batchelder Bradbury

Verse 1

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name

Chorus

Christ alone cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all

Verse 2

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

Chorus

Christ alone cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all

Verse 3

When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless stand before the throne

Chorus

Christ alone cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all

Benediction (4 Slides)

Reader: As we leave from here, we go into a world of pain and suffering.

Response: As we leave from here we go into a world of Laments.

Reader: May we choose to listen and not turn away from their stories.

Response: May we choose to remember that Jesus embraced everyone.

Reader: We go from here remembering that God created everyone.

Response: We go from here choosing love for everyone.

Reader: May we choose to hear, may we choose to accept, may we embrace.

Response: May we seek empathy as we pray for all.

Community (No Slides)

  • Winter Bible Studies in February waiting on covid
  • Next Sunday – 

Peace (3 Slides)

As you leave this place may the peace of the Lord go with you.

And also with you.

Go in peace.

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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