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Categorized | From the Pulpit


Pastor Dallas Burgeson

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant St., Cedar Springs

I’m a little obsessed with books, and many of my favorites were written by people who have long-since died. So it pains me whenever I think about this incredible library that was once housed in Alexandria, Egypt. At its height in 200-300 B.C., this library supposedly housed anywhere from 40,000 to 400,000 scrolls. Legend has it that at some point it all burned to the ground in a great battle—possibly between the Romans and the Egyptians.

One conflict, now all that history is gone.

On another occasion during the American Civil War, Union general William T. Sherman marched his more than 60,000 soldiers for well over a month from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia, leaving a trail of utter destruction among Confederate civilians. This was meant, according to Sherman, to “make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war” (https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/shermans-march). He employed this “scorched earth” plan in hopes of bringing the war to a speedier end. But again, at what cost?

A number of years ago, the curse we all now feel from the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3 was really weighing on me, and I ended up writing a song of lament. Something similar to the book of Lamentations, only shorter (and not as good). I called it “Alexandria to Atlanta,” and the lyrics go like this:

This march has left us nothing sound

Its scent doth blanket wilderness

Its taste has tinged the cellar’s best

It’s found the springs beneath the ground

The masterpieces share our wounds

Our beauties, they must always lack

Each buttress bears a fatal crack

Our poems smolder ‘neath the ruins

Nothing sacred to the slaughter

All must bow to violence

It’s in our blood, and poisons hence

The lives and work of son and daughter

Writers much better than I don’t have to dream up sad situations to write sad songs. It seems that too often, before we will turn to the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ, we feel the need to exhaust all our other hopes first. At this stage of 2020… how many of these other hopes are you still trying?

God never meant for sorrow to remain forever. Jesus was a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). He knows that if we will face up to the sadness of our situation, learning to lament what has been lost can be healing. Even more, it has a way of helping us reorganize the priorities we had before sorrow came along.  

There’s no doubt that many of the marches that humanity has been on have not been sound, and perhaps 2020 was a year that something had to give. Instead of trying to meet every wave of bad news with anger, how about another posture instead? What if we hit our knees in sorrow? Even consider that we might be part of the problem? Lament might do us some good.

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