In the Lectionary

October 2, Ordinary 27C (Lamentations 1:1–6)

These days it seems there are more and more opportunities for collective lament.

Lay leaders were gathered that evening for our monthly committee and council meeting. The committees had met in small groups, and now about 50 people were gathered for devotions and committee reports before the church council met. The young woman assigned to lead devotions that evening got up and began to read: “How lonely sits the city that was once full of people. How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations.”

She kept reading from Lamentations 1, which might have seemed like an odd choice for a council devotion—except that it was September 11, 2001. What felt odd was to be meeting as a church council on that evening, as if everything were normal, as if we were just going to plan Advent and Christmas worship or bake sales or Sunday school after watching two planes slam into the World Trade Center, after watching the buildings collapse, after watching a city fall.

Lamentation was the only normal thing that happened that night.