Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Walking in the Dark - Will YOU Lament?

Thanks for your crazy sweet responses to the lament I shared last week.  I was pleasantly surprised by your grace and understanding!

Catch up on the series here: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

I hope you, too, will join me in lamenting well.  I'm convinced we need more of this sort of thing in our friendships, communities and churches!

Bifrost Arts: Learning Lamentation from josh franer on Vimeo.

Something for you to consider...
In Hurting with God, Glenn Pemberton notes that laments constitute 40 percent of the Psalms, but in the hymnal for the Churches of Christ, laments make up 13 percent, the Presbyterian hymnal 19 percent, and the Baptist hymnal 13 percent. 
Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) licenses local churches for the use of contemporary worship songs. CCLI tracks the songs that are employed by local churches, and its list of the top 100 worship songs as of August 2012 reveals that only five of the songs would qualify as a lament. Most of the songs reflect themes of celebratory praise: “Here I Am to Worship,” “Happy Day,” “Indescribable,” “Friend of God,” “Glorious Day,” “Marvelous Light,” and “Victory in Jesus. —Carl R. Trueman, “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” in The Wages Of Spin: Critical Writings on Historical and Contemporary Evangelicalism (Christian Focus, 2005), 159-160.  
Perhaps . . . [the Western church] has drunk so deeply at the well of modern Western materialism that it simply does not know what to do with such cries and regards them as little short of embarrassing.A diet of unremittingly jolly choruses and hymns inevitably creates an unrealistic horizon of expectation which sees the normative Christian life as one long triumphalist street party—a theologically incorrect and a pastorally disastrous scenario in a world of broken individuals.Has an unconscious belief that Christianity is—or at least should be—all about health, wealth, and happiness corrupted the content of our worship?. . . In the psalms, God has given the church a language which allows it to express even the deepest agonies of the human soul in the context of worship.Does our contemporary language of worship reflect the horizon of the expectation regarding the believer’s experience which the psalter proposes as normative?If not, why not?Is it because the comfortable values of Western middle-class consumerism have silently infiltrated the church and made us consider such cries irrelevant, embarrassing, and signs of abject failure?
—Carl R. Trueman, “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” in The Wages Of Spin: Critical Writings on Historical and Contemporary Evangelicalism (Christian Focus, 2005), 159-160.
Granted, this only speaks to worship music in the church, but I think these are shining examples of how we bypass lament altogether in many facets of life.  Instead, we value independence, positivity, victory, strength, control and confidence.

I am all for celebrating these things, in season, but if we bypass our weak, broken, dark times altogether, we must realize there are grave consequences.

When we do not lament...
We become apathetic towards injustice.
We become numb to the Spirit's work in our life.
We avert healing.
We become out of touch with reality.
We become irrelevant to a suffering world.
We become disconnected to others.
We become ill-equipped to minister.
We are dishonest with ourselves, others, and especially God.
To lament is to realize the world is broken, that something is wrong, that pain, hurt, confusion, anger, betrayal, despair and injustice exist, and that all creation groans for redemption.

When we are honest about this and when we address is appropriately, we pave the way for justice, ministry, connectedness, honesty, healing and restoration.

Because I am a worship leader and equipper, I can't help but think of opportunities to incorporate lament into songs and worship gatherings.  But, I want to encourage you to think about what lament could look like in your own sphere of influence.

Will you paint paintings of lament?  Will you share stories and laments over coffee with a friend?  Will you write and sing songs of lament?  Will you journal your laments?  Will you create space in your home for your loved ones to lament?  Will you preach sermons on lament?  Will you pray prayers of lament?

Ultimately, will you address the injustice and brokenness of the world and cry out to God with boldness and honesty?

We must be the change we're hoping to see in our churches and communities and friendships and in the world!  

Join me?


  1. Amen and amen. So clear and simple.

  2. I've been meditating recently on the "fellowship of His sufferings" and truly knowing Him in them. Maybe helpful for your continued ponderings of LAMENT? (Philippians 3:10+)


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