Today’s Old Testament reading is from the Book of Lamentations, five poems of anguish after the Babylonians destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its temple in 587 B.C. May the reading spur our prayer for the Fortnight for Freedom 2016: young maidens bow your heads to the ground; old men, sit on the ground in silence. Let us Cry Out to the Lord to heal our nation, to protect us from false prophets who do not lay bare our guilt and instead offer false and misleading portents. For great as the sea is our downfall. Let us rise up and pour out our hearts like water in the presence of the Lord. Let us lift up our hands to him who can heal and save our nation, the one who blessed our nation, established within its realm religious liberty. Let us lift up our hands for the little ones.
Scripture of the Day: Lamentations 2:2, 10–14, 18–19
The Lord has consumed without pity
all the dwellings of Jacob;
He has torn down in his anger
the fortresses of daughter Judah;
He has brought to the ground in dishonor
her king and her princes.
On the ground in silence sit
the old men of daughter Zion;
They strew dust on their heads
and gird themselves with sackcloth;
The maidens of Jerusalem
bow their heads to the ground.
Worn out from weeping are my eyes,
within me all is in ferment;
My gall is poured out on the ground
because of the downfall of the daughter of my people,
As child and infant faint away
in the open spaces of the town.
In vain they ask their mothers,
“Where is the grain?”
As they faint away like the wounded
in the streets of the city,
And breathe their last
in their mothers’ arms.
To what can I liken or compare you,
O daughter Jerusalem?
What example can I show you for your comfort,
virgin daughter Zion?
For great as the sea is your downfall;
who can heal you?
Your prophets had for you
false and specious visions;
They did not lay bare your guilt,
to avert your fate;
They beheld for you in vision
false and misleading portents.
Cry out to the Lord;
moan, O daughter Zion!
Let your tears flow like a torrent
day and night;
Let there be no respite for you,
no repose for your eyes.
Rise up, shrill in the night,
at the beginning of every watch;
Pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord;
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your little ones
Who faint from hunger
at the corner of every street.