Crying was not really smiled up when I was growing up. If your brother gave you a shove and you fell and hurt yourself, the question was “What are you crying for?” If you broke your favorite toy… “What are you crying for?” If your parents said “No” when you wanted “Yes” and you cried… “What are you crying for?” followed by the inevitable, “I’ll give you something to cry about!”
Nowadays we tell people, and not just children, “It’s okay to cry.” While there were some advantages to the get-up-and-get-over-it mindsets of our parents, there were disadvantages as well. It is appropriate to cry, sometimes, and the question is, “What are you crying for?” or, more accurately, “What are you crying over?”
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you. How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” Luke 13:34
The maternal longing of God—"as a hen gathers her chicks”—is such a pure expression of God’s intentions for people, and for cities and nations. This is not about the imposition of some draconian theocracy: it is a kind parent longing for their opposite-direction children.
I am thankful to be optimistic. I am not a glass-half-full person, but a “Glass… that is amazing.” “Glass is made from sand… even more amazing!” “Water: so glad we can turn a tap and there it is.” That said, there is enough bad news every day to break the glass of optimists and pessimists alike. The world is weeping under the weight of greed, corruption, compromised leadership, power grabbing, injustice and arrogance… to name just some things. Leaders who should know better are selling their children and grandchildren into prisons of national debt. Darkness appears to be spreading at the speed of light. Truth tellers are under attack.
Courageous leaders are saying, “Enough is enough! We want our cities back.” Enlightened people are crying over their cities just as Jesus did his. This morning as I read Luke 13:34 I made a note in my journal, “What is Jesus crying over today?” As soon as I wrote it I wondered, “What am I crying over today?” Jesus saw the Father’s original intent for Jerusalem, its most noble purpose, its calling and destiny. We need to see our cities with the eyes of Jesus, even if it causes us to weep. Beyond the cry for our city, we need a vision of a transformed city and a plan to get there. The outcomes might mirror Sustainable Development Goals but the foundation is not mere human effort, rather the redemptive work of Christ. “What are you crying for? What will you do when you have finished crying?”