“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely 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 this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:28-31, NRSV)
I believe in God, who lived in the world and was of the world.
This is not a God who sits high on a throne, watching from his far off safe haven. This is a God who has come down from heaven and is present in the real world with its real torments.
Paaschendale. Ypres. The Somme. Helmand. Basra. Manhattan. Dresden. Hiroshima. Lebanon. Jerusalem. Palestine. Damascus. Libya. Belfast. London. Glasgow.
A million dead. A million more.
A world criss-crossed with fractures and fault lines, men and women and children still killed, every day, never for any good reason.
God of the nations, your world is filled with pain.
As we weep with the women,
we hold before you the worries and troubles of the world we live in.
We pray for those countries where there is war and civil unrest.
For the victims of terrorism.
For the victims of sectarianism and hate crimes.
For the victims of natural disaster.
For those who have died in conflict.
And for all those for whom Jerusalem remains a battleground.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God.