Grace. Unmerited favor. Overwhelming love. Not words that would usually be associated with Lamentations. With the content of Lamentations being a result of the fall of Israel (and in particular, Jerusalem), it is peculiar to think of grace.
Lamentations is poetry, lament, and theology all wrapped into one. In Lamentations, probably more than even in Job, someone (or someones) wrestles with grief, loss, death, the (un)fairness of life, and other things that people question when in the throes of significant pain of the heart.
Despite all that they have gone through, including their recognition of their sin and transgressions, God hasn’t abandoned them. For a time, they would be wandering in a new kind of wilderness, but God would not let that way remain forever.
The world really isn’t fair. We often aren’t fair to the ones we love, or even ourselves. One of the biggest and most painful lessons we learn as children is that the world is not fair. What makes that even more interesting is that no matter how deep that wound is, there is something that we cannot tolerate about things not being fair.
Even in the verses of Mark, there are “not fair” examples. Some leader gets to ask Jesus into his home. Normal people wouldn’t get to do that. Some random woman touches his outer garment and is completely healed. There were probably others touching Jesus’ garment, and they didn’t get healed. It’s not fair.
Then Paul dares to ask the Corinthians to send money. He doesn’t demand it. He puts it in nice gentle language. He still wants our money. It’s not fair.
Except, Paul’s point, God’s point isn’t fairness. It’s not even reciprocity. It’s doing right because it is right. Not because it’s fair (or unfair, honestly).
Fair and right are often at odds. When we add time to the mix, it becomes even more difficult, for the long-term consequences may well change what is truly fair and right.
With this in mind, it is important for us, as followers of Jesus, to pursue fair and right from the perspective of God. Of course, what that means is up for debate in the current era, which is a problem in and of itself. When we are no longer able to determine fair or right, or we really the children of God?
- What does fair mean to you? How does “fair” reflect the nature and/or character of God? What does a “fair” Christian do that a non-Christian wouldn’t?
- What does right mean to you? How does “right” reflect the nature and/or character of God? What does a “right” Christian do that a non-Christian wouldn’t?
- How do you learn and discern fair and right in your daily life?
God of judgment, may the Holy Spirit shape and form us to be reflections of you in how we see and do fair and right. Amen.