“Let us Lament”
This past week I spoke about how Psalm 69 leads us from the orientation Psalms we had in 1 and 113 to psalms that speak of disorientation like 69 does as the writer cries out to God in distress and despair. Sometimes these psalms are called Psalms of lament because they use the language of lament to name that what is happening seems unbearable, unfair, and without hope; while also naming that God is able to intervene. They are cries not only about the calamity people find themselves in or faced with, but also are petitions for God who has intervened in the past to intervene once again. The gravity of a problem will always be relative to the ones experiencing it given their values, context, and privileges in life.
What in our lives collectively and personally do we take notice of right now that hurts, that we have despair or despondency towards? I know of a few that we share in common, but I wonder how our current attitudes and approaches have come far short of lament? We have differing viewpoints about masking, protocols, vaccinations and politics, but we can still come together as a community and lament. We are upset to have transition and for this church there has been a great deal of it: online worship, staff changes, Pastor Colin leaving in December, disconnection and distant relationships due to isolation, a sense of loss from how life used to be, loss of loved ones and friends, new ways of being and doing church etc. I don’t believe everything can be solved by ‘just trusting God’ more; that goes for mental health, broken bones, mask wearing and the weather. Instead, I believe that the language of the Psalms gives us a way to name our emotions, name the issues we are facing, and name God’s faithfulness and character as a God who can and does intervene.
Will you join me in not blaming, judging, or belittling differences in our church and community? Will you commit to pray a lament instead? Here is an example:
“Dear God, “X” is a problem right now. It should not be this way, and yet we have different beliefs and emotions that have hurt us and made it hard to be your people. We don’t have all the answers and we feel frustrated with ourselves, with how others have been, and that this situation is happening in the first place. We know you are faithful; we recall how you brought healing to some of the worst diseases and ailments through Jesus Christ; we know you are a God who provides for your people. In Scripture we are reminded of the Exodus from Egypt, the food provided by manna in the desert, care and provision while your people were in exile, and the fullness of restoration brought by Jesus Christ). We know that Jesus has freed us from all sin and brokenness and yet we remain broken, calloused, and confused about what the future holds. We ask Holy Spirit that you will soften our hearts and minds, we ask that you bring about peace and restoration, we ask that you will put an end to divisions, an end to illness, and will instead bring about unity, peace, and genuine love for all our brothers and sisters. We want this all now, and we trust that you are good and faithful to your promises to love us and never forsake us, and we also know that even if this doesn’t happen immediately that in the end your peace and your recovery, your restoration and renewal will happen for all things. Come Lord Jesus, Amen.”