Herb Brokering was a well-known Lutheran pastor who, among other things was an accomplished poet and librettist. I had the privilege of working with Herb on a number of occasions back in the 1980’s, putting some of his lyrics to music with the guitar.
One of my favorite poems by Herb is this little one, “If Jesus Wept”.
If Jesus wept for a city, he can fall in a tear.
If Jesus went into heaven, he can come in my fear.
If Jesus lay in a manger, he can stay beneath a tree.
And if he has love for a sparrow, he can love you and me.
It is a simple poem, to be sure. The first line recalls Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, the blessed city of God that refused his love. But there is a back story. The tree Herb refers to recalls a tragic incident. His brother, while playing one day, fell from a tree and died. So, the poem is a lament recalling that heartbreaking incident but recalling even more the steadfast love of Christ who meets us in our need and sorrow.
The image of the Son of God weeping, recorded in at least two instances in the Bible, places Jesus firmly in the midst of life’s sorrows and griefs. And is that not what the prophet said of him? That he would be a “man of sorrows acquainted with grief”? You and I carry the burdens of this life, its griefs and sorrows, but we do not carry them alone. Those brief moments in Scripture, when we see the Lord’s tears, open for us a picture of a God who feels with us, knows our heartaches and who, in mercy and forgiveness, bestows himself upon us with faith, hope and love.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in
Christ Jesus our Lord.”