Here we hear the despair of the prophet of God. He weeps to see his people fall into disaster, to see the order of their days fall into the chaos that existed before God first spoke life. You can almost feel his salty tears dripping down his cheek as you hear his words, and almost hear the echo of his full-throated cry. Yet his despair is not his own – it is also the despair of the Living God whose heart breaks whenever God’s children are hurting. Like a mother who knows it would only enable her adult child’s addiction to rescue them from the painful path that brings recovery, yet whose heart breaks to see them face the consequences of their actions, and whose pillow is wet with the tears of her prayers every night until that lost child finds its way to wholeness, so our God does not rejoice in the failure of a one of us. God despairs and weeps.
We are reminded of the compassion of God and invited to open wide our heart – both to express our own heartaches, and also not to so wall our hearts that we cannot feel the despair of the hurting around us. We must learn to see their heartache and pain as our own, for we and they are knit together as Dr. King once said in a common garment of destiny.
Finally we are reminded that God’s love does not keep us from the consequences of our choices. And we have the capacity to unravel creation itself. In seeing the city fall into disorder and decay, the prophet describes it using language of moving from the goodness of creation to the tohu wabohu life-robbing, orderless, threatening confusion that exists in Scripture before God speaks life. We have the capacity through polluting God’s earth, through warring against each other, through our choices for bigotry, prejudice, hatred, to unravel in small and big ways the miracle of life, creation, and existence which is God’s gift to us. We need to know that what we do to others – and what we see happen to them – including not just our neighbor but also the earth and her creatures – will affect us. We need to be those weaving life and healing into the fabric of creation through our actions, holding back the forces of chaos and destruction, and helping further the work of life, liberation, and healing.