Lamentations March 8

1 I am someone who saw the suffering

caused by God’s angry rod.

2 He drove me away, forced me to walk

in darkness not light.

3 He turned his hand even against me, over

and over again, all day long.

4 He wore out my flesh and my skin;

he broke my bones.

5 He besieged me, surrounding me

with bitterness and weariness.

Lamentations, March 7

20 Pay attention, Lord, for I am in trouble.

My stomach is churning;

my heart is pounding inside me

because I am so bitter.

In the streets the sword kills;

in the house it is like death.

21 People heard that I was groaning,

that I had no comforter.

All my enemies heard about my distress;

they were thrilled

that you had done this.

Bring the day you have announced

so they become like me!

22 Let all their evil come before you.

Then injure them like you’ve injured me

because of all my wrong acts;

my groans are many,

my heart is sick.


Lamentations, March 6

17 Zion spreads out her hands;

she has no comforter.

The Lord commanded Jacob’s enemies to

surround him.

Jerusalem is just a piece of garbage to them.

18 The Lord is right

because I disobeyed his word.

Listen, all you people;

look at my suffering.

My young women and young men

have gone away as prisoners.

19 I called to my lovers, but they deceived me.

My priests and my elders

have perished in the city;

they were looking for food to survive.

Lamentations, March 5

14 My steps are being watched;

by his hand they are tripped up.

His yoke is on my neck;

he makes my strength fail.

My Lord has handed me over

to people I can’t resist.

15 My Lord has despised my mighty warriors.

He called a feast for me—

in order to crush my young men!

My Lord has stomped on the winepress

of the young woman Daughter Judah.

16 Because of all these things I’m crying.

My eyes, my own eyes pour water

because a comforter who might

encourage me is nowhere near.

My children are destroyed because the

enemy was so strong.

Lamentations, March 4

10 The enemy grabbed all her treasures.

She watched nations

enter her sanctuary—

nations that you, God, commanded:

They must not enter your assembly.

11 All her people are groaning, seeking bread.

They give up their most precious things

for food to survive.

“Lord, look and take notice: I am most

certainly despised.”

12 Is this nothing to all you who pass by?

Look around: Is there any suffering like

the suffering inflicted on me,

the grief that the Lord caused

on the day of his fierce anger?

13 From above he sent fire into my bones;

he trampled them.

He spread a net for my feet;

he forced me backward.

He left me devastated, constantly sick.

Lamentations, March 3

7 While suffering and homeless,

Jerusalem remembers all her treasures

from days long past.

When her people fell by the enemy’s

hand, there was no one to help her.

Enemies saw her, laughed at her defeat.

8 Jerusalem has sinned greatly;

therefore, she’s become a joke.

All who honored her now detest her,

for they’ve seen her naked.

Even she groans and turns away.

9 Her uncleanness shows on her clothing;

she didn’t consider

what would happen to her.

She’s gone down shockingly;

she has no comforter.

“Lord, look at my suffering—

the enemy has definitely triumphed!”

Lamentations, March 2

5 Her adversaries have become rulers;

her enemies relax.

Certainly the Lord caused her grief

because of her many wrong acts.

Her children have gone away,

captive before the enemy.

6 Daughter Zion lost all her glory.

Her officials are like deer

that can’t find pasture.

They have gone away, frail,

before the hunter.

Lamentations, March 1

1 Oh, no!

She sits alone,

the city that was once full of people.

Once great among nations,

she has become like a widow.

Once a queen over provinces,

she has become a slave.

2 She weeps bitterly in the night,

her tears on her cheek. None of her lovers comfort her.

All her friends lied to her;

they have become her enemies.

3 Judah was exiled after suffering

and hard service.

She lives among the nations;

she finds no rest.

All who were chasing her caught her—right in the middle of her distress.

4 Zion’s roads are in mourning;

no one comes to the festivals.

All her gates are deserted.

Her priests are groaning,

her young women grieving. She is bitter.

Yay Giving!

As part of our commitment to celebrating intergenerational worship, I’d like to introduce a couple of new practices.

First, we have started intentionally seeking out worship elements that may speak to the primary-age youth (we are also working on ways to provide leadership and participation opportunities for the senior youth). We started last week with a responsive reading that specifically included them, but we are planning more activities for the future.

Second, we have decided to involve them in the offering. Every week in worship during the offering, we will have youth running around with coffee cans for your loose change. This offering will go to our quarterly mission focus. In Q1, this is the Ankeny BackPack Program, which partners with schools to send backpacks full of food home with students who are facing food security issues at home. Come and make a joyful noise!

Narrative Budget

We did something slightly different with the budget presentation for annual meeting this year. Instead of just giving the numbers and spreadsheets, we put together a narrative budget that helps explain the overall picture of our expenditures and income. The full reports are still available for those who want them, but we think this document really shows who we are, as reflected in our spending.

So here it is, our 2015 Narrative Budget.