Friday, May 6, 2016

in the Presence of the LORD

The Word for today:
Lamentations 1
mark this: Lamentations 1:12 --
"Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the LORD inflicted on the day of his fierce anger."
If you are 'standing in the rain,' you just finished the book of Jeremiah and you just started the book of Lamentations (which was also written by Jeremiah).
We can be lulled by the titles of Bible books into thinking that we are hearing the word of Jeremiah, or the word of Isaiah, or the word of Ezekiel...
But often an Old Testament voice will sound so familiar that we recall--that's Jesus! We are startled into remembering that, though it might be called "the Book of Jeremiah," it's ultimately "the Word of the LORD."
Perhaps the best way to understand this is found in the roles played by Jeremiah and his assistant, Baruch. Jeremiah did not actually write on paper the words of Jeremiah and Lamentations. He spoke them and Baruch wrote them (1). Though Baruch wrote them, we never think of these words as his.
In the same way that Baruch was given the Word by Jeremiah, Jeremiah was given the Word by God. So these are no more Jeremiah's words than they are Baruch's! Ultimately, these are Jesus' words.
Furthermore, the partitions we designate as 'Genesis' and 'Joshua' and '1 Kings', as 'Psalms' and 'Hosea' and 'Habbakkuk,' begin to disintegrate as we come to increasingly recognize the single voice they share. Finally, the partitions we designate as 'Old Testament' and 'New Testament' also disappear; as the voice of the gospels sounds, like an echo, both new and renewed at the same time:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate...
 (Matthew 23:37, 38)
Where have we heard that voice before? Here's where:
How lonely sits the city that was full of people!
How like a widow has she become.
For these things I weep; my eyes flow with tears;
for a comforter is far from me, one to revive my spirit;
my children are desolate.
 (Lamentations 1:1,16)
Then, to the sounds we've heard before, we add the scenes we've seen before. Consider:
And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross." (Matthew 27:39-40)
Where have we seen that scene before? Here's where:
"Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the LORD inflicted on the day of his fierce anger." (Lamentations 1:12)
Comes the day when there is no 'future,' no 'past,' but a timelessness where cause and effect are indistinguishable, where prophecy and fulfillment can no longer be separated.
This Other-dimensional reality can be disorienting and dizzying at first. But it is suffused with an ineffable beauty, where eyes and ears don't receive sight and sound, but cast them; where the linear geometry of time gives way to the poetic calculus of Presence:
a where with no there, a when with no then;
for he is all,
and all in all. (2)
(1) Jeremiah 36:4; (2) 1 Corinthians 15:28; Ephesians 1:23

No comments:

Post a Comment