Thursday, November 17, 2022



And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Revelation 5:4, 5

As [Jesus] came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.’ Luke 19.41-44

The lectionary text for Holy Communion today, Revelation 5:1-10 and Luke 19:41-44, are linked by weeping.

When we weep, the tears we are unable to hold back affect our vision. At an earthly level, we are unable to see clearly, our sight is blurred, and what is before us is obscured. But at a heavenly level, our weeping enables us to see what before we could not, God come to us. It is when John begins to weep that he is given a vision of Jesus, as he truly is, Lion and Lamb, Root and Branch, Victim and Victor.

Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, a city of people who do not weep and so do not recognise their visitation from God. Through her tears, on the coming Resurrection morning, Mary will identify Jesus as the gardener. From an earthly perspective, this is a case of mistaken identity: he is not the gardener, the keeper of that garden. But from a heavenly perspective, he is the Gardener, who has won back what Adam lost, and Mary sees him as he truly is.

Our tears are prayers that rise before God when our mouths and our minds are unable to work together, just as the blood of murdered Abel cried out to God when his mouth and mind were no longer able to do so. The tears of the saints are precious to God. They are not wasted, but gathered up, by God, in a bowl. And our weeping intercessions change earth and heaven, for by them we are given revelation of God-with-us. We weep precisely because all is not yet reconciled, all is not well; yet our weeping points to that day when, all things reconciled and made well, God will dry every tear, and—heaven and earth fully reconciled—we shall see God face to face without distortion nor the need for corrective. More than holding fast to that future, through our weeping, that promise draws nearer.

Often, when I am talking with someone who has been bereaved, as if out of nowhere they start to weep, and, invariably, apologise. I always respond in the same way: don’t you dare apologise for your tears; there is nothing to apologise for. The tears of the saints are precious in God’s sight. Those who would see Jesus do so through drenched eyes.


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