I had the opportunity to preach on a passage from Lamentations today. How many people have ever heard a sermon preached on this little book. It isn't very cheery. Lamenting is something we don't do so well in the west, although there have been a few opportunities over the past few years to express grief at a corporate level, September 11, the Bali bombings, and famous deaths like Diana Spencer and Steve Irwin. With the later I think that some of the grief was projected as the media had a field day canonising them as secular saints.
Having said that, their endings were tragic, as indeed was the passing of Anna Nicole Smith, for which I was particularly sad (and not because I ever saw her photo shoots). There are many sad stories in the paper each day - from huge front pagers to the odd paragraph. Behind each of these are human lives damaged or destroyed.
One of the things my missiology lecturer said that I remember clearly was "are there tear satins on your newspaper". I used that quote in the sermon and found a couple of weepers in my congregation.
One could be tempted to focus on only the good stories in the news, the banal and titilating. Journalism is firstly about entertainment, then about news (not sure where truth stands in much of it). Yet we cannot hide our heads in the sand of fashion and bikinis (and as a nod to the Darwin newspaper, crocodiles).
Learning to weep over the newspaper reminds us that we don't line in a perfect world, and from a Christian pov, the world not as it should be. It should prompt us to pray, to comfort where we can, and to act.