Our societies are built upon the oppression of the poor and marginalised and yet, unless we remove ourselves entirely from the web of cords, laws, taxes, products, and biological needs inherent in twenty-first century life, we are forced to participate in the oppression of others, and the destruction of our habitats. We see, we know that the world is on the brink, yet we cannot escape. Facing such a reality, Jeremiah offers us a way forward: we lament, we express our rage, we retain hope by continuing to call for change, and through it all we never allow ourselves to be numbed or silenced by the enormity of it all.
The psalmist wrestles with despair, drawing strength from remembrances of God’s past protection and help. Politics, which must also face the threat of despair, can learn from the way that both the psalmist and Christ after him preserve the glimmer of hope against despair’s engulfing darkness.