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Lamentation – The Timelessness of Pain

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This AP picture was moving to me. It was taken in 2008 at the funeral of 8 seminary students killed in Israel this week, but it could just have well have been taken when “a voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted because they were no more” (Matthew 2:18).

It was taken today, but it could have been taken when Jeremiah penned the words, “She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies” (Lamentations 1:2).

The photo is contemporary, but it could have been taken two thousand years ago when Jesus of Nazareth, bearing His cross to Golgotha, turned to weeping women and said,

Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:27-31).

A couple mourns. The clothing seen in this picture is clothing that might have been worn two thousand years ago. The timelessness of pain was digitally captured.

When will Rachel rejoice? When will she wipe away her tears and no longer wail, “Blessed are the breasts that never nursed”? Or will Rachel always weep?

They say pictures are worth a thousand words. I say that some pictures are worth a thousand sober questions.

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