A nibble from my new Lamentations commentary
My contention is that these biblical-theological connections [which you'll have to read the book to find out about] create a framework for some fruitful, imaginative, Christian re-appropriation of Lamentations. Lamentations concerns the devastation of the exilic experience from the perspective of those who have been left behind. It is the Holy Saturday of Israel’s life caught between exilic death at the hands of Babylon and the desperate hope for resurrection. The future exile of Israel was seen by Leviticus as an enforced Sabbath rest for the land because Israel had neglected to observe the Sabbaths (Lev 26:34-35). So it is that Christ’s death on Good Friday is followed by the ‘exilic’, Sabbath rest of Holy Saturday. The framework outlined above allows a Christian reader to connect the suffering of Lamentations with the sufferings of humanity more generally and, in accord with the Rule of Faith, with the sufferings of Christ in particular. Locating the tears of Lamentations in these inter-canonical flows allows us to read the tears of the world through the tears of Lamentations and vice versa. It also invites us to read Lamentations in the light of the cross and the cross in the light of Lamentations. The connections between Christ’s suffering and that of the Church would also help us to connect Lamentations to the plight of suffering Christians across the globe. The potential for fresh insight emerging from such imaginative theological engagements with the text is immense and very open-ended. Such engagements would be guided by a biblical theology which emerges from various texts in Scripture but the possibilities for fresh interpretations, even within this Christian framework, are vast.