Daily Devotion for June 3, 2020

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored? O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people.
(Jeremiah 8:22-9:1)
 
Jeremiah sees destruction and woe all around him and cries out for God’s mercy and presence. The people of God are suffering. Jeremiah brings that suffering to God in woe, in repentance for the ways the people have been unfaithful, and in hope and affirmation that God is faithful and just and will eventually act in mercy for the people.
 
The bible is filled with stories of woe and sin, of faithlessness and struggles. It is also filled with stories of repentance and healing, of faithfulness and grace. The is the story of how God has been present throughout history, always working toward hope and holiness, toward redemption and renewal.
 
The news (and our lives) these days are filled with stories of destruction and woe, of cries for justice and mercy. We cry out with the prophets in our midst who wail and mourn, who act for justice and hope. Is there no balm for our weary world? Why has the health of our poor people not been restored? How will we take action to bring the changes needed for safety, restoration and thriving, working with (and as) brown and black siblings? At this time, when it is crucial for us to remain physically distant to ensure health for everyone, what actions can we take to change the systems which need changing?
 
Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider, and call for the mourning women to come; send for the skilled women to come; let them quickly raise a dirge over us so that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids flow with water.”
(Jeremiah 9:17-18)
 
With Jeremiah and the women, we can wail and mourn. We can name the issues we face. We can listen to those who prophetically speak of and act in justice. And, with even with prayers and tears of lamentation, we too can act. We are called as God’s people, to repent, to listen, to speak up, and to stand with those who suffer and hurt. We are called as God’s people, to pray, to study the issues, to listen for God’s call in our hearts, and to discern the action(s) God calls us to take.
 
Our devotion to God is prayer. Our hurting hearts are prayer. Our wailing is prayer. Our actions are prayer. Let us pray. Let us pray. Let us pray.
 
God of mercy, we offer you our lives in service, in prophetic actions for justice, in our tears and brokenness, in our prayers of lament and hope. We pray for those who hurt. We pray for those who carry generations of oppression and pain. We pray for those who live with despair and fear. We pray for those who are enraged. We pray for justice. We pray for the part we are called to be and do in your work of justice in our communities and world. We pray in the name of the One who taught us how to live in justice and healing mercy, Jesus the Christ. Amen.