Lament for Our Time
This past Sunday, in response to the shootings in Dayton and El Paso, we took time at Calvary to hear from God’s Word on this issue, lament the senselessness of this violence, and pray for change in ourselves and our nation.
If this topic and our response to it was helpful to you, or if you believe this is a conversation we need to continue to have, I would extend a special invitation to be part of our Sunday morning Bible Study over the coming weeks. Last week we began a study on the Old Testament book of Lamentations. Ordinarily, this might be a book we would shy away from. Lamentations is exactly what the title says, poetry of lament, or sadness, and in the case of Lamentations, lament for the people and nation of Israel, upon the siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C.
Lament is not a topic we ordinarily take up with zeal. We are attracted to topics that are joyful, uplifting, and easy to feel good about, but as Seminary Professor Soong-Chan Rah reminds us, in his commentary on Lamentations titled “Prophetic Lament” the failure to include Lament in our worship “results in the Loss of memory. We forget the necessity of Lamenting over suffering and pain. We forget the reality of suffering and pain.”
Dr. Rah describes lament in the Bible as “a liturgical response to the reality of suffering and engages God in the context of pain and trouble. The hope of lament is that God would respond to human suffering that is wholeheartedly communicated through lament.”
Lament is not a habit many of us engage in easily. And, in good times, which Americans are privileged to experience as the normal way of life, lament is often a distant and even uncomfortable worship practice to take up. But for God’s people, it shouldn’t be. Lament is a historic and powerful force within the life of the church. The anxiety that many feel today, over events unfolding in the world, should be a reminder to reacquiant ourselves with this practice.
So, you are hereby invited to join the discussion. On Sundays at 8:45am we meet in the Fellowship Hall for Bible Study. For at least the next five weeks, the book of Lamentations will be our topic, and, I fully expect that current events, and the ways we respond to them as people of God, will be part of the conversation. If you are interested to learn more about this topic, you could also take a look at Soong-Chan Rah’s book “Prophetic Lament” which presents a practical view of Biblical lament, and its application in our lives.
~Pastor Mike Middaugh