Breathing room
Lamentations 1:1-5(6-9)10-12: How lonely sits the city that once was full of people!...Judah has gone into exile with suffering and hard servitude; she lives now among the nations, and finds no resting place…The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to the festivals; all her gates are desolate…
A writer describing the ineffective way that cities develop lamented how unfriendly cities can be to human beings. He spoke not of crime or traffic, but of the way cities make it hard for human beings to do important things, like breathing and walking.
The book of Lamentations mourns the way that the city “once…full of people” has become “desolate.” This account of the city sorrows over its becoming deserted, contrasted to modern cities which teem with people but suffer from a chaotic pace and lack of connection. Cities—and other social institutions of our culture—have plenty of people, but little concern of one person for another.
As Christians following a loving God, perhaps we are the ones called to make the ‘cities’ of human life more healing. We can stop, occasionally, to check on another person rather than relying only on technological connections to hurry from one task to another.
We are the people charged with making every human encounter human again. With that effort, maybe our cities can allow us to experience some long-forgotten benefits.
Like breathing.
Psalms 26, 28; 1 Corinthians 15:41-50; Matthew 11:25-30
Copyright 2021 by Carol Mead. This material is copyrighted, but you may forward it electronically in its entirety to others. For noncommercial use and sharing only. To subscribe free, please contact the author at

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