March 29, 2014
The nations have invaded Your heritage, O God;
They have defiled Your temple; reduced Salem to sod.
They’ve given the dead bodies of Your own saints for meat,
For food to birds of heaven, and beasts of earth to eat.
Their blood’s poured out like water around Jerusalem;
And no one’s left alive there to care or bury them.
We’re objects of reproach to our neighbors everywhere,
Of scoffing and derision; O Lord, do You not care?
How long, O Lord? Forever will You be filled with ire?
How long will You be angry? Your jealousy burn like fire?
Pour out Your wrath on nations who do not know Your fame,
Your anger upon kingdoms that don’t call on Your name.
For they’ve devoured Jacob, his homeland laid to waste;
Remember not the sins of our fathers – come in haste!
We are brought low – help us, God! For glory of Your name,
Deliver and forgive us, for the sake of Your name.
Why should the nations, boasting, in pride say, “Where’s their God?”
Let it be known among all the nations far abroad,
That You avenge Your people and see their blood outpoured,
That You, before our eyes, show Yourself to be the Lord.
May groaning of the pris’ners come to Your ear and eye;
By greatness of Your power, preserve those doomed to die.
Pay back into the laps of our neighbors sevenfold
reproach that they have hurled, Lord; reproaches they have told.
Then we who are Your people – the sheep of Your own field
will thank You, Lord, forever; all praise to You we’ll yield.
And from one generation unto all length of days,
We will recount Your glory, and will tell forth Your praise.
Post apocalyptic literature is on the rise these days. From movies like The Road and World War Z to the popular AMC series, The Walking Dead, the post apocalyptic genre is all about the meaninglessness of a life without hope. In these stories conditions are so far beyond bad that concepts like justice and even civilization are beyond imagining. There’s not much singing going on.
That’s what is surprising about song #79. It has all the tones and strains of post apocalyptic storytelling. The people of God had endured cataclysmic tragedy. Take a second look at those first two stanzas above. It’s worse than bad. The big difference between this song and others like it? There is a bigger story surrounding the apocalypse. This bigger story creates the reality of hope. And hope creates the possibility for genuine lament.
What is missing in today’s post apocalyptic stories is hope and consequently they are devoid of lament. Life has been reduced to mere survival. There is no bigger story. Sure there’s plenty of personal drama but no one is crying out to God in any significant way.
I’m coming to the conclusion that lament is the authenticating sign of hope, and consequently a key indicator of real faith in God.
And remember, lament is a song. CLICK HERE.