Jeremiah 1: 1 – 3
How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
has now become a slave.
2 Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are 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.
3 After affliction and harsh labour,
Judah has gone into exile.
The history of Israel has been said to be a long ride on a roller coaster, sometimes going strong, others diving into the depths. There were a lot of depths; invasions by various neighbouring forces in fighting among their own rulers, not to mention the occasional famine or pestilence. But without doubt, the lowest of the lowest points came when the Assyrians invaded and carried the population off to Babylon, there to endure Exile for 70 years.
Life they quickly realised would never be the same again, and to use a current phrase beloved of our leaders, ‘Normal Life would never be normal again’ – and it wasn’t. The ten Tribes of Judea disappeared without trace (OK some will tell you that they went to what is now USA but you can take that proposition with a tonne or so of salt).
It was, and remains, the second greatest disaster to befall the nation, only the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 64 AD and the subsequent Diaspora was worse.
The book of Lamentations is exactly that; a long litany of mourning for what was and will not be again.
The writer sees Jerusalem as a widow left alone and abandoned, no one to comfort her, all those who had partied with her in the good times have disowned her and left her to her fate.
It would seem that her position is hopeless, but is it?
We think that this present pandemic will result in life never being the same again, and perhaps it will be so, but what is important will not change our love, our hope, our determination, our capacity to endure and eventually overcome will still be there.
Our God will still be there with us in thick and thin.
Lord God, our loving Father in Heaven, we stand at the door to the unknown. As we go through that door may we know you are with us, for in our faith we believe that if you are with us, we can and will face all things.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,