Lent #15 – Lamentations 5

Written as a part of a Lent 2017 project. 

Luke Dowding

A re-writing of Lamentations 5. 

Can you see us, God? Can you you see what is happening around us? Look and see the mess we’ve made of your world.

We’ve abused, assaulted, and attacked your creation. Mined the ground, poisoned the soil, the water, the air. We fatten livestock for the already well fattened and we pillage the land of those wasting away.

Our inheritance has been co-opted: politicians and the historical elite hide in shadows as strangers, selling the homes, the identities, the self-worth of those not born into power. Our homes have been turned over to aliens, not the immigrants or the refugees whom we’re told are the enemy, but the giants of corporatism and greed.

We neglect our orphans, our widows and widowers, we fail to support those in need with a fair distribution of wealth and welfare. Those who sleep rough remain without a shelter above their heads, those who sleep on plush pillows buy yet more shelter to protect their wealth.

We have learnt to pay for everything we need, commoditising even the most basic of essentials needed to live. Millions waste water, not counting the cost, whilst millions more thirst. Elderly spend winters freezing in their own homes during the winter months, the cost of heating too much to bear.

We are tired, we are driven to unending deadlines and yoked to wanting more, now. We are given no rest, no chance to stop the forward motion, no chance to get off.

We make arms deals to feather our own nests, exporting weapons to those we know will use them for harm, for greed, for empire building. We have made a pact with those like Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, to keep ourselves safe.

We bear the sins of the 20th Century, the divisions, the conflicts, and the repercussions that followed. The decision makers of that time, slowly fading into history, the aftermath of their inequities repeating today, time and time again.

Those enslaved to capitalism, to power, to greed, they rule over us. There is no one to save us from this cycle, from this norm, from their hands.

We get what we need and all that we don’t, at the peril of our mental health and our physical wellbeing, because we are driven by the fear of being left behind, left out, abandoned. The wilderness is a scary place and we do all that we can to avoid it.

Famine scorches the land and burns up the bodies of those unable to feed or be fed. Like fire it taints not only those who have been burned, but those who witness the burning, those who do nothing to put out the flames.

Women are assaulted in places of sanctuary where they should be safe. Women of colour, trans women, mothers, daughters, women of every nation remain topics of discussion, subjects to be subjugated, their gender and identity exploited and used to exploit.

Princes of literature, music, justice, art, faith, have their hands bound restricting their passion and all that we can learn from it. Those who have gone before us, our elders, are ignored, mocked, locked away.

Zero hour contracts force grinding labour on those who have no other option, those who are young face prospects of unemployment or a lifetime of work that they derive no enjoyment, no passion from.

Those who were long since trusted to remind us of where we have been are no longer listened to, those who creatively look to the future are forced to keep quiet by the struggles they daily carry.

The joy we find in the sharing of the words closest to our hearts, stilled as the freedom of movement long celebrated becomes something feared, scorned and rejected. Our dancing turned to mourning.

We are now crownless, the once jewel of creation, fallen into the same sin we repeat throughout time. The sin of removing ourselves from the Divine.

Our hearts are afflicted because of all of this, we can’t see the world for what it really is through our dimmed eyes. We have become narrow, cold and resentful, the Garden has been left desolate, jackals picking at the remains of what was once pure and delightful.

But our God, you are with us forever. We must remind ourselves that you endure. You endure through it all and for us all.

It seems that you have forgotten us completely, do I need to read through that list again? How can it be that you have forsaken us in so many ways, when all we’ve ever been taught is that you are of love? Pure love.

Let us then focus in prayer and seek you, because we know that you can restore us. Not by waving a magic wand, but by journeying with us through the pain of restoration. Renew us, as we seek to renew the world around us. Change us as we hope to bring change.

Have you utterly rejected us? Are you angry beyond measure? We choose to look to the cross at times such as these, your pain, your suffering, your choice. You have not utterly rejected us. You are not angry beyond measure.

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Luke has a degree in Theology from Spurgeon’s College and is currently studying for his Masters in Biblical Studies at King’s College, part time. The rest of the time he works as a freelancer in business management and administration, attempts to journey with the Baptist Union of Great Britain on LGBT+ inclusion, is a Deacon at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, and works on projects such as Soho Gathering (@sohogathering). He is married to Steven and their wedding was the first same-sex marriage to be celebrated at Bloomsbury.

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