The gift of lament
Holy Week and Creation: a comparison
God’s seventh love song for his creation
40 Blogs of Lent: Day 40
The first chapter of the Book of Genesis is theology, but not theology as we know it. It is not the theology of learned people using the academic language for academic people, nor is it a historical account. It is certainly not science. What it is is a statement of God of his love for the universe he created. “God saw that it was good.”
This is God’s love song for creation.
There is a correlation with the events of Holy Week, from Jesus entering into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to being in the tomb on the following Saturday. It is not a perfect correlation, but there is enough similarity to make looking at it interesting. The events of Holy week fall into line with the love song of God for creation.
This is Jesus’ love song for the earth.
God was very pleased with his six days of creation and declared all that he had made to be very good.
Jesus completed his work of salvation on the sixth day, saying “It is finished.” The next day he rests in the grave.
The work is over.
We have the privilege of 2,000 years of hindsight. We know that this is not the end of either story. To Jesus’ followers on that day, this was the end. Jesus was dead. Very dead. Mark makes sure of this by putting the testimonies of three men, Joseph of Arimathea, Pontius Pilate and the centurion that Jesus was really dead. To Jesus’ followers, hope had gone. The one they had put their trust in had been defeated.
All they have left is a lament.
At a time of self-isolation, the lockdown of all but essential places like food shops and pharmacies, not being able to see family members nor go out are leaving people depressed, symptoms close to that of bereavement. We have a need to lament
I am thankful for an email I received 19 days ago about this. It was not a personal one to me but a newsletter sent out to followers of Tanya Marlow’s blog taking about lament as a gift from God, then via a link from Facebook I had a link to Charismatic Christians, Crisis, and Coronavirus: Part II. Both are saying the same thing, that 40% of the Psalms are laments or contain lament, and we as Christians are very bad at lamenting, charismatic church worship is bad at acknowledging pain and loss, unless the story ends in joy. We need that honesty in worship for lament, room to express raw emotions to God, to scream at God. Yes, scream at God, not because it is a sign of lack of faith but because we have faith and God has given us the gift of screaming.
Since then it has turned personal. My father turned 92 today in the COVID ward of a hospital. I remember when I heard about the diagnosis, caught between wanting to scream and feeling numb. Numbness won. Better news yesterday has left me feeling optimistic for the first time since then.
Creation is still good. The presence of this pandemic, and the many before it does not mean that God or creation are bad. They remain good. Diseases are not the judgement of God, God’s judgement is on how we react.
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.
Mark 15:42–47 ESVUK