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Next in the Lent and Beyond Anglican Bloggers' Meditations: RatherNot Blog
Prydain ^ | 4/10/2006 | Will

Posted on 04/10/2006 9:57:36 PM PDT by sionnsar

Today from the Lent and Beyond Anglican Bloggers' Collaborative Lenten Meditation Series, we have Lamentations by Prof. IRNS of the RatherNot blog. As always this is a meditation not to be missed--see what you think!

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
Rather Not: Lamentations
Filed under: General (uncategorized), Lent 2006, Anglican Bloggers Lenten Devotionals — Karen B. @ 9:21 am

This is the fortieth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals by a group of Anglican bloggers and friends. Today’s entry is by “Professor Say” of the Rather Not blog. You can read other entries in the series here.

In both the 1928 and 1979 Prayer Books of the Episcopal Church, the Old Testament readings for the daily office start Monday of Holy Week with Lamentations. This is the moment in the liturgical year for this little book—only nine pages in my annotated RSV—to make its mark.

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

Sometime about 920 BC, King Solomon died, and the kingdom his father David had created—a small but respectable mini-empire by the standards of the ancient near east—was unable to remain united. For the next two hundred years, the Israelites were divided into two nations, the southern kingdom of Judah where a descendent of David continued to rule, and a northern kingdom of Israel where a rival dynasty was set up. Then in 722 the northern kingdom was destroyed in an unsuccessful rebellion against the Evil Empire of much of the Old Testament, Assyria.

They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them in their fortresses. My people are bent on turning away from me; so they are appointed to the yoke, and none shall remove it. Hosea 12:5-7

Following a standard form of imperial control, the Assyrians removed entire populations from the rebellious Israel (the so-called “ten lost tribes” of Israel) and resettled them across the near east, while others were moved into the former territories of the Israelites, or Samaria (hence the origins of the Samaritans—2 Kings 17:21-41). For all intents and purposes, the people of the northern kingdom go off history’s radar screen for good.

In the south, a descendent of David continued on the throne of Jerusalem. The kingdom of Judah appeared to have survived. However, almost a century and a half later, in 586 BC, Judah too participated in a rebellion, this time against Babylon, one of the successor states of Assyria, and the people of Judah were no more successful than their relatives in the north. Jerusalem was destroyed, its walls torn down, and the temple, built by Solomon and proclaimed by the prophets as the only true place for sacrificial worship of the LORD, was destroyed as well. The throne on which God had promised that a descendent of David would sit forever, and the temple where His glory dwelt, were both gone, and the people of Jerusalem were exiled as their northern brethren, this time to Babylon, clear across the fertile crescent in the Tigris and Euphrates valley.

By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion . . . How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land? Psalm 137:1, 4

Lamentations is attributed to Jeremiah, though his authorship is doubtful. Whatever. It is a lament over the ruined city, the apparent victory of the enemies of the LORD, and a cry of despair at Judah’s failure.

How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the cities has become a vassal . . .

Judah has gone into exile because of affliction and hard servitude; she dwells now among the nations but finds no resting place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress.

The Lord has scorned his altar, disowned his sanctuary; he has delivered into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; a clamor was raised in the house of the LORD as on the day of an appointed feast. Lamentations 1:1, 3; 2:7

And yet . . . unlike their cousins to the north, these Israelites do not vanish. They do not go off the radar screen. With the capture of Babylon by Cyrus of Persia in 530 BC, they are permitted to return, to rebuild David’s city and the LORD’s temple. Nor is this a mere restoration of the status quo ante. In the vision of the author of the last chapters of Isaiah, the victory of Cyrus (the anointed of the LORD, Isaiah 45:1) and the restoration of the Israelite nation is the beginning of the extension of the rule of the LORD over all the earth.

“Listen to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go forth from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples. My deliverance draws near speedily, my salvation has gone forth and my arms will rule the peoples . . .”

“Thus says the LORD God, who gathers together the outcasts of Israel, I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” Isaiah 51:4, 54:5

The author of these chapters in Isaiah believes that this is the mission, the purpose of the LORD’s servant on earth, the nation of Israel, to serve as the instrument whereby the LORD who controls history will alter history’s course in the direction of salvation. And this nation-as-servant theme is famously personified in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah we all remember, particularly in Holy Week.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:3-5

When the actual incarnation of this servant of the LORD enters history in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, not only is the history humanity summed up in his life (what St. Irenaeus in the second century would call ‘recapitulation’) and the curse of the tree of Eden reversed—so is the history of Israel. From exile in Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15) and descent from David, Jesus re-enacts the crucial moments of Israelite history. Before he can alter history, before he can fulfill his mission as the recapitulation of humanity, he must complete the re-enactment of Israel, which includes destruction, exile, and the lament of his followers.

The LORD has scorned his altar, disowned his sanctuary . . .

This time, the LORD’s temple is the body of Jesus (John 2:19-21); His sanctuary is Golgotha, His altar the cross. This time, the exile is to hell. This time, the lament is that of his followers . . .

But thou, O LORD, dost reign for ever; thy throne endures to all generations. Why dost thou forget us forever, why dost thou so long forsake us?

Restore us to thyself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old! Or hast thou utterly rejected us? Art thou exceedingly angry with us? Lamentations 5:20-22

. . . and this time, the return from exile is to inaugurate the eternal reign of the son of David.

1 posted on 04/10/2006 9:57:36 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Calabash; axegrinder; AnalogReigns; Uriah_lost; Condor 63; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

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Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 04/10/2006 9:58:23 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† | Iran Azadi 2006 | 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t YOur5 (SONY))
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To: F14 Pilot; FARS; Khashayar; nuconvert
these Israelites do not vanish. They do not go off the radar screen. With the capture of Babylon by Cyrus of Persia in 530 BC, they are permitted to return, to rebuild David’s city and the LORD’s temple.


3 posted on 04/10/2006 10:00:26 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† | Iran Azadi 2006 | 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t YOur5 (SONY))
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To: sionnsar

To the best of my knowledge, F14 pilot and Khashayar are no longer on FR. Am I wrong?

4 posted on 04/10/2006 11:44:58 PM PDT by FARS (OK)
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