Tears, an Empty City, and a New Kingdom

I finished Jeremiah and hit Lamentations today.  To say that my time reading scripture is discouraging is an understatement.  With this chronological reading plan, I am immersed in the story of Israel’s downfall.  I have been for weeks and weeks.  It makes it so tough to read the scripture.  This reading plan needs to come with some anti-depressants or something.

But, as I read it, I’m beginning to realize on a small scale, what a heartbreak it was for the people to lose their land, their place.  Everything was tied up in it.  Even in the Scriptures, the writers are focused on getting back to the land.  “Stop sinning so that we can go home” is the cry of the authors.  They want to be back in Israel, in Jerusalem, so desperately.  The city of Jerusalem has a personality, it cries, it moans, it misses it’s people.  The personification of the city runs deep in their understanding.  It’s something I have trouble relating to.

But it causes me to wonder what it is that I am that attached to?  It’s not the United States for me, or my house, or city.  But my comfort would be something close.  I’ll follow, as long as it isn’t an inconvenience.  Or my job.  I’m good with following God, unless he asks me to be homeless and not be a pastor anymore.  Or my schedule.  When God wants to obliterate my schedule, I get a little sideways with Him.

So, while I obsess over different things, I still obsess.  I allow things to come between me and God, to get in the way, to distract me.  They become my Jerusalem, my kingdom.

So, again, I fall back on this prayer:

Our Father, who is in heaven,
Holy is your name,
Your Kingdom come
Your Will be done
On earth, like it’s done in Heaven.
Give me today what I need,
And forgive me for all of my sins,
And I forgive those who have sinned against me.
Don’t lead me into temptation
But deliver me from evil.

His kingdom.  Here.  Today.  Not my Jerusalem.  His kingdom.