- Centering prayer— Pray for illumination, “Lord, open my heart and mind by the power of the Holy Spirit,” and remain in silence.
- Read slowly, keeping any words or phrase that come to your mind, and mark on them.
- Close eyes and meditate on what you read.
- Take a note if you have question, inspiration.
Read Lamentation 1
The book of Lamentation is poetry, expressing suffering, agony and pain of the fall of Judah and Jerusalem. This book describes the historical event of the destruction of Jerusalem by the hands of the Babylonians in 587 BC. Therefore, this book must be written after that year.
The book of Lamentation is composed of five poems, and the structure of the book is pattern based on Hebrew alphabet, 22 letters, in each chapter, with chapter three having three times of it.
The poet of the book of Lamentation has been known as Jeremiah historically, who was called the weeping prophet. But some biblical scholars viewed differently because of formation and grammar in the book, different from the book of Jeremiah. They viewed that there are different poet for each chapter, and later five poems were grouped into one book.
The central theme of the book of Lamentation is theological—how God could allow the promised land and people to be destroyed and God’s people sent away in exile? Where is God in the midst of the people’s suffering? The poet repeatedly calls on God for mercy and compassion, begging God to see their grief and shame.
The book of Lamentation was used in public rituals of morning and remembrances the times of tragedy. In Christian tradition, the reading of the book of Lamentation is included as part of worship during Holy Week. In Jewish tradition, this book is read on the month of Ab, a holiday that remembers the destruction of Jerusalem temple twice, 587 BC and 70AD, and other catastrophes such as Holocaust during the second world war.
The book of Lamentation creates the readers space for remembering tragedy, and the healing of painful situation.
The first poet in chapter one remembers the tragedy of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army, using the analogy of royal palace once was brilliant but destroyed. The poet confessed the sin, adultery, that brought divine anger leading to destruction. The poet pleaded God’s mercy.
1. What does this passage tell you about God?
2. What does this passage tell you about people.?
3. What does this passage tell you about yourself and God’s will for you?