Listening Through Lent: O Come and Mourn with Me Awhile

I must confess, sometimes I struggle with the Good Friday service and the heaviness of Lenten traditions. Sometimes I wonder why we clothe ourselves in sadness for what happened on the cross when we already know that the story doesn’t end with Friday. We live with feet placed in two worlds, in the frustrating tension that comes with knowing the joyful end of the story, the other part of us still caught waiting in the midst of much ugliness yet to be cleared away. I find this tension to be a bottomless ache; I feel it keenly when I see the brokenness of the natural world around me, be it one of the many injured animals in my neighborhood, or the endless mounds of garbage clogging up the waterways: a cycle that hurts people and creatures over and over again. How our earth aches for all things to be healed from the brokenness brought on by the sin of the first man.

There is only one route that will fully heal our hurting world, and there is only one who can walk it: God, the true first man, the Second and better Adam. And so this hymn walks us to the hill where he died, and invites us to feel the heavy darkness of Good Friday. If anyone knew abuse and injustice, was it not Jesus? If anyone has known the wrenching pain of sin and tasted its consequences, was it not Jesus? He endured silence from heaven as he chose to bear the “guilty” status in our place. He knew the ultimate of loneliness and isolation.

The final lyric of this hymn points to the ending we already know in part and await in full. In the ring: our sin and God’s love, facing off for a final time. But there is no contest—our sin has no endurance for such a cosmic fight. Our sin, though it has crushed us and our world in many ways, cannot stand against Christ. His love for us has overpowered sin. The victory is his, and always will be.
~Breanna Randall
(Yangon, Myanmar)

O come and mourn with me awhile;

O come ye to the Savior’s side

O come, together let us mourn;

Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

 

Seven times He spoke, seven words of love;

And all three hours His silence cried

For mercy on the souls of men;

Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

 

O break, O break, hard heart of mine!

Thy weak self-love and guilty pride

His Pilate and His Judas were:

Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

 

A broken heart, a fount of tears,

Ask, and they will not be denied;

A broken heart love’s cradle is:

Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

 

O love of God! O sin of man!

In this dread act Your strength is tried;

And victory remains with love;

For Thou our Lord, art crucified!

 ~Frederick W. Faber

 

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