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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Hope Springs Eternal | Lamentations

‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!’
Romans 5:8-10

Throughout Lent, we’ve been journeying through the poems of Lamentations in preparation for the events of Easter. Last week, we left Lamentations without a neat conclusion or a simple hope, but a question: has God utterly rejected his people?

During this Holy Week, we remember the despair, the trials, and the pain of sitting in the suffering, and we prepare to journey with Jesus through his triumphant entry in Jerusalem, his final meal with his disciples, his tortured prayer in the garden, his betrayal, his trial, his execution, and his resurrection.

This is a week heavy with emotion. On Good Friday, we mourn. On Holy Saturday, we practise what we have been reflecting on throughout this series: grieving when there seems to be no hope. And on Easter Sunday, we celebrate.

Lamentations 3 brought us surprising salvation in the depths of despair: ‘Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed’ (3:22). So much more surprising is the salvation we find here, in the letter to the Romans: ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ The hope that we caught a glimpse of back at the mid-point of Lamentations has dawned in all its fullness. The sun has risen, and the world is flooded with light.

Not only have we been reconciled to God through Christ’s death, but we will be saved from God’s wrath through Christ’s resurrection.

Romans 5 reminds us that even when hope feels incomprehensible, even when it seems as if we are living in the depths of Lamentations’ despair, even when the darkness overwhelms and judgement feels close at hand, all is not lost.

‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ Jesus has taken our sin upon himself, and so the Judge has pronounced us righteous. The Son has given us his life in our place, and so the Father has welcomed us home.

The despair of Lamentations is not to be viewed lightly. As we sit in and acknowledge the deep pain and desolation of Lamentations, we’re able to see more clearly the glory of redemption that Christ brings. The promise of hope has been fulfilled – despite our failings, despite our rejection of God, despite our powerlessness to save ourselves.

The greater the despair, the more glorious the redemption.

Nell Goddard

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Nell Goddard

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