Imagine your favorite place, that place where you feel complete. Your home. Now imagine seeing that place ransacked and destroyed. In the OT, the Jewish people experienced the destruction of their holy city, after which they were forced into exile.
I’ve moved alot, (and this has caused me to ponder quite extensively on where “home” is), but even that’s not really the point here. The point is: By the waters of _______ we lay down and wept when we remembered ________.
As many of you know, Christchurch was hit by a series of earthquakes. Originally, there was only minor damage, and nobody died. But then February 22nd happened. Altogether an unfortunate weekend. Although I was very glad that I was together with my mom (remarkably we were in Evanston…), when we heard about it.
In the Christchurch city centre is the old University Buildings, which are now the Arts Centre, which houses local artists and craftspeople. They even had a great market on weekends, where even more artists would come out. My favorite silversmith is there, and it is from him I get my rings, and a lot of earrings too. He even made me custom ones one time. But the Arts Centre is broken.
The best chocolate in the world came from a little chocolate shop near our house. She was a Canadian, who had married a Kiwi. They sold chocolates, and coffee and tea, like you would expect, but she also had chocolate deserts, and made her own marshmellows. Not mention that they had at least seven different kinds of hot chocolate on the menu. If I could drink that stuff all day, who needs coffee?
And the chocolates! She had your normal flavors, like caramel and raspberry, but then she had crazy ones like vinegar, or oil or things like that. And of course, she had the best hokey pokey of anywhere. And seriously, this is not exaggeration. I have had Swiss chocolate, I’ve had Belgian chocolates in Belgium, and these could not compare. Xocolatl is where it’s at.
Except that they are broken. They took damage in the first earthquake, and were just picking themselves up with then next one came. She has moved to Melbourne, and gone back to being a pastry chef. Therefore, let me weep.
How fabulous and gentle a Savior we have!
When the Jews were in exile, they anticipated a Saviour to come and win a political victory for them. They missed that first He would come as a suffering servant. How merciful a Creator, who did not leave us to our suffering, but became like us, suffering even to the point of death.
Even in the mystery of Atonement we find joy and grief together, and love woven with death.
At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night
On the hillside, you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And your spirit restored
By the river that poured
From our blessed Savior’s side
And surely He deals gently with us, and will call back and restore those of His people who are in exile.