Lament and Hope: A Pan African Quad-Centennial Devotional Guide - Page 17

Housing Policies for Africans in Diaspora
Weekly Scripture Lessons:
First Sunday: “No Comfort for the People” (Jeremiah 31:15-22)
Second Sunday: “No Home in a Foreign Land” (Psalm 137)
Third Sunday: “Holding Leaders Accountable for Homelessness” (Matthew 23: 29-39)
Fourth Sunday: “New Life for Those Afflicted by Poverty” (Revelation 22:1-11)
Fifth Sunday: “A Just Inheritance for All People” (Numbers 27:1-11)
Biblical Reflection:
Instances of outcry because of injustice, oppression, and misfortune are experienced by human beings. People of faith have
lamented, hoped for a better future, and acted to usher in that hope for the future. The book of Lamentations reminds us that
in the wake of traumatic circumstances, communal and ritual lament helps in the journey to wholeness. Africans in Diaspora
have practiced this for centuries. In Lamentations 3:1, the writer expresses deep distress that feels as if God has abandoned the
writer, but then the writer expresses hope (Lamentations 3:21b-22).
In approximately 587 BCE, the Babylonians conquered Israel, destroyed Jerusalem and sent the people into exile. Other
misfortunes followed, and the basis of Jewish religion and culture were questioned. Babylon was later conquered by Persia and
the Persian King gave his Jewish servant, Nehemiah, permission to rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah’s
response in the face of these challenges was to lament, pray, and act (Nehemiah 1:3-4).
Nehemiah took steps to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem physically and symbolically, persisting in the face of opposition by some
of his own people.
Africans in Diaspora have also rebuilt their communities despite their lament over policies such as the National Housing Policy
of 1934. It is in this rebuilding that hope is created for future generations.
We thank you God for creating a home for us on beautiful planet earth; for creating people who are families of kinship
and companionship, faith and citizenry. We have failed to love God, others, ourselves and creation. Help those who lead
in homes, and in religious, political, and humanitarian organizations. Have mercy upon us. Teach us to welcome and love
family and strangers. Empower us to provide for those who are vulnerable, affected by hunger, lonely, homeless, poor, and
oppressed. Amen.
Reflection Questions:
Week 1: What are the arenas of lament and expressions of hope for ‘exiles’ in your community?
Week 2: If a person is cut off from joy and in enemy territory, can they sing?
Week 3: What can we learn from those who are oppressed but still find hope in their seasons of lament?
Week 4: Jesus denounces failed leadership in Matthew 23:29-39. How do we hold leaders who perpetuate or collude with abuse
accountable? How can you help end the scandal of homelessness and poverty?
Week 5: How do we create training processes that promote just leadership in government?
Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis, is the Gordan Scholar at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, Nova Scotia and former president of the
United Theological College of the West Indies.
Bread for the World


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