Domingo, 25 de Fevereiro de 2024
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When Tears Run Dry

Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll – are they not in your record? (Psalms 56.8).

There are three types of tear: basal tears, reflex tears and emotional tears. Basal tears are continually produced in our body in order to lubricate and protect the eye. Reflex tears, in turn, aim at protecting the eye when in contact with irritant substances, such as onion vapor.

However, emotional tears are the type we know best by experience. Emotional tears, diverse even in its chemicals, are also secreted in moments of pleasure and joy.  Nevertheless, there’s no doubt about the reason of such tears mainly being our painful experiences. And we, human beings, coming from any culture, appreciate our weeping. Such appreciation gave birth to the ancient practice of putting away – in small flasks – tears from the moments of pain and sorrow.

Tear flaks used to be relatively common in funerals during the Roman Empire and many have being found by archeologists in the Israel area. People used to collect their tears and store them along with the body of a dear fellow or relative as a sign of respect and feelings for a loss beyond repair.

This practice lasted for centuries, so that during the Victorian Era (1837 to 1901) flaks were made in a way that they kept tears then let them evaporate. Thus, the mourning period was related to the time required for evaporation of the whole content of the flask.

However, the tears flask was not only used for the occasion of mourning. There are reports that during the American Civil War women cried their husband’s departure to battle and stored their tears, hoping to have their husbands back home so that they could show how much they had been missed.

The verse quoted above is an example of usage of the tear flask not related to loss by death. David wrote it when in great distress. His life was being clearly threatened and he was facing double persecution from king Saul and Philistines enemies for different reasons. Apparently, David owned one of these flasks (or at least he knew the practice) and expanded his experience towards the metaphysical dimension, highlighting that God cared about his suffering and equally collected his servant’s tears in his heavenly flaks.

This must be one of the verses known by the church, who will invariably cry until the Lord comes. There will be enough occasion for us to approach such verse for personal use and for help to the body of Christ who goes through affliction and trials. Certainly God collects the tears of the people who fears and honors him.

Yet, his flaks are not to be put in graves, for there will be no death or pain in the final coming of his kingdom: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21.4)

Maybe, the tear flasks are markers for a time of grief and sadness, such as in the Victorian Era – the time of our eartly life – up to when all tears will completely evaporate. Maybe, God will show me my flask someday… it will be already empty. In that case, let it be dry so that I can start filling it up with more emotional tears – but happy ones!

Ev. Leandro Boer

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