Saturday 26 June 2010

Bible Book:

"Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street." (v.19)

Lamentations 2:2-19 Saturday 26 June 2010


The book of Lamentations may not be the most familiar in theBible, but its place in Scripture signifies something of greatimportance: lament is as important as praise.

Lamentations is a collection of poems written around the time ofthe destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The poems resemble thewriting of some psalms and some of the prophets, especiallyJeremiah who has by tradition been associated with this book.

Unlike the psalms of lament which often move into praise, thesepoems of lament rarely go past cries of pain and tears ofbitterness. Staying with lament is hard but, for a broken people ina broken world, in a Church that is also marked by brokenness,lament is one of the deepest responses we can make.

To lament is to name what is wrong. We do not have to be cautiousbefore God, nor skirt politely around the things in our lives andin our world that are terrible. Lament doesn't look for answers; itpowerfully and poignantly names the wrong and the pain for what itis. We lament because we must be truthful in our worship before,and of, God.

To lament is to protest. We often want to forget, to gloss over andmove on. Lament makes us remember and lament means that those whoseinterests are best served by ignoring or forgetting are not soeasily let off the hook.

To lament is to give voice to suffering and pain, to name thebrokenness of the world without moralising. Today for example,whatever your view of the Iraq war, we must lament the loss anddestruction that it entailed and which continues after it.

We may find that lamentation leads to praise, but we should notassume that or look for it to happen too quickly or else both ourlament and our praise become hollow and superficial. In a brokenworld, for a broken people, lament may be our best gift andoffering.

To Ponder

Does worship - in your experience - includelament? If not, why not? What is its effect when it isincluded?

What do you need to lament? Try writing alamentation and addressing it to God.

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