In the middle of celebration, yesterday we have been reminded of how quickly tragedy happens. The people of Highland Park, Illinois were hit smack dab in the face with our current reality. And immediately, I mean IMMEDIATELY folks started talking about where to place the blame. But readers, this is not the time to place blame for this tragedy. What it is, is time to be broken. Be broken for others–for everyone. Including ourselves!
I admit that I wanted to go on a rant about those who have chosen to blame “gun violence” and write about the real problem of human violence; and how the decay of our Christian-Judeo values have led us to this place in time. But even my placing the blame isn’t going to change anything. Placing blame only serves to divide us even more. And aren’t we divided enough already? I think so. I know so!
It’s easy, way too easy to place the blame somewhere, whichever side of the fence you are on. The word for this day after the tragedy in Highland Park, and every day forward, is LAMENT! The only suitable action and appropriate reaction is to be broken. To be broken over the loss of lives. Broken for those who were injured. Broken for those who are scarred by this senseless act. Broken for ourselves. And to you who say you are followers of Jesus, be Broken that we have only added to the tragedy by being silent–or worse–placing blame.
Friends, we need to be lamenting as never before–and for some–it may be your first experience with lamenting. Lamenting is more than crying. And it’s certainly not feeling anger towards anyone or anything. Lamenting is being broken down by grief and the pain of these days. Listen to how Jeremiah describes this feeling:
I have cried until the tears no longer come;Lamentations chapter 2, verse 11; from the New Living Translation
my heart is broken.
My spirit is poured out in agony
as I see the desperate plight of my people.
Little children and tiny babies
are fainting and dying in the streets.
I’m talking about having all the strength in you drained so that all you can do is collapse. I’m talking about crying so hard that you have no more tears left and snot is running out of our nose like a fire hydrant. Lamenting comes from feeling the pain–the pain of brokenness. The brokeness of others. And our own brokenness.
If placing blame somewhere isn’t going to work, then what should be our Next Step? Build an altar! I mean, make yourself an actual altar. Don’t dust off the power tools. Just use what you have available. Rocks, stacks of wood, whatever materials or pieces of furniture are at hand. Then on that altar—LAMENT! This is exactly what I will do today. I will make an altar where I can Lament–over myself and over my world. And not just today–but for every day of this life.