Lament has been a frequent topic of conversation at our church during this season. The social distancing mandates have led to isolation for many and the death count is sobering if one stops to consider it. Many are eager for their own lament to be turned into dancing. But I had a thought… Do I care about the lament of my fellow man?
I am indebted to Chabad.org for insight into Psalm 30 as the Jews closely tie this Psalm to the story of Esther. She and Mordecai pleaded with God (and the King) and the plan of Haman was turned upside down as he ate the fruit of his own scheme. But while Mordecai, in particular, fully trusted in the faithfulness of God, the annihilation of the Jews was a done deal according to the law Haman had prescribed. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would have been like to be a Jew during that time.
What would it have been like to feel as though those in power were out to destroy your livelihood? To scatter your family? Or to remove you from your family forever? Every day to walk out of your house to go to work or school or to the store unsure if you’d make it home that night? To meet a public official not knowing if this one was for you or against you? Today might be the day I didn’t get to play catch with my son or tuck my daughter into bed – not today or ever again – simply because my culture is different from the majority.
The story that Psalm 30 is tied to happened roughly 2,500 years ago. I type this on my sofa in the wealthiest, most “Christian” nation in the world seeing that this is reality for my black and brown brothers and sisters in my own country, state, county, and town.
This story should be unsettling. I find myself asking, “What will it take for me to care more about the lament of my brothers and sisters being turned into dancing than my own lament about affirmative action and wearing a mask?” With our track record, why don’t we just make Haman king rather than keeping him hidden from sight? I guess as long as political careers are more important than the lives of people, we won’t need to.