If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
“If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
— 1 John 1:8-9
I was pleased to see that this week’s Lectionary readings have included one of my favorite scriptures, which is found an Old Testament book which is by no means one of my O.T. favorites.
Lamentations is largely a gloom-and-doom book, probably written by that gloomy and fiery prophet Jeremiah. Whoever wrote it was a witness to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the very way of life of God’s people.
Those people had angered God by turning away from God with all their breaking of God’s laws, and God definitely showed his displeasure with them, as we see in Lamentations.
However . . . as rough and tough as God appears to be in so much of the Old Testament, the Lord’s love, mercy and grace shine through all that raw material, time and again.
So it shines in this reading from Lamentations (with my italics for emphasis):
The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
— Lamentations 3: 19-26 (NRSV)
The love of God never ends.
God’s mercies are new every day.
Our Lord’s faithfulness is great.
Our Lord is good to those who wait for him.
It’s good to be still, be quiet, and wait for the salvation of the Lord.
What a beautiful, pastoral word for such graceless and merciless times as these.
* * *
So the thoughts for the day are:
Are you now, or have you ever been, in need of mercy and forgiveness from anyone anyone for something you said or did?
(My guess is yes, that’s a stupid question–of course you have.)
Have you ever asked anyone to forgive you for something?
(If that olive leaf was rejected, how did that make you feel? Could you have handled the rejection in a more spiritually mature way? If you were forgiven, how did that feel?)
Are you thankful that God is so full of love and forgiveness that his/her mercies are new every day?
And, don’t you think you should be?
For if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.