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Friday 16th September 2022

For some reason this week’s passage (Jeremiah 8:18 – 9:1) got me thinking about the yin/yang symbol. It’s a lovely symbol of the need for both sides. The two shapes that make up the One are identical but opposite; apart they are incomplete and together they are whole. They wouldn’t be what they are supposed to be without the other half and yet each half is distinct.

It got me thinking about lament and joy; about Facebook and the six o’clock news. It got me wondering about how integrated our joy and suffering is. The social side of our lives almost demands us to present as happy, put-together, achieving, forward moving. And, yet the daily news almost demands us to focus on the danger and war and power and grief and corruption in the world.

How do we carry both? How do we help ourselves to feel joy and lament at the same time?

We can’t have one without the other. If we only allowed ourselves to feel joy we would miss out on a depth of connection to the world that God calls us to be a part of. If we only allowed ourselves to feel the weight of lament we wouldn’t be able to survive – a sense of joy is what sustains us through the lament.

It is possible to cry out for the world, it is possible for our hearts to hurt for those who are hurting; and at the same time, for us to hold a deep sense of joy – joy that we belong to God, joy that we can pray on behalf of the world, joy that we have hearts that can break because we have a love for this world that calls us to care.