Helping People to Meet God • Make Friends • Grow in Faith


As part of a questionnaire on Biblical Literacy, I looked at the Biblical books I preached on since I have come to St Paul’s. Among the books that I had not preached on was the book of Lamentations. “Something has to be done about that,” I thought. But when could I preach about Lamentations? The lectionary only sets a reading from Lamentations on Easter Eve, a service we normally don’t have at St Paul’s, and as alternative reading on the thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year B. And these excerpts don’t really convey the overall tone and message of the book. Since Lamentations is so much about recognising the suffering of the world and God’s people and about repentance and God’s faithfulness, it seemed appropriate to concentrate on the book during Lent. And so I decided that we’ll have readings from Lamentations for the first five Sundays of Lent. Since there are five chapters, we’ll concentrate on one chapter each Sunday.

I only hope that we can make it through those five Sundays. After all, there is a lot of lamenting in the words we’ll hear. Only in the third chapter is there some solace and assurance. Lamentations is not a feel-good book. It is an honest, raw book that can also resonate with our own troubles. While it is right to praise God even in hard times, it is also important to bring our pain and guilt to God, even our confusion. That is the mark of a deep relationship.