Teach me to Lament

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Friday September 11, 2020 marks 6 months since the WHO declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. I’m not sure how you would reflect on the past 6 months, but somehow looking at the clouds dominating the sky today seems appropriate. It isn’t sunny where I am, just an overcast, heavy stillness.

As a follower of Jesus, I’ve seen our churches close doors out of necessity. We’ve turned to livestreaming, Zoom and a bunch of other online platforms. Some things are different, some things are the same.

Worship is one the things that stayed pretty much the same. Online we’re still singing the same songs. Churches have started meeting together again. Even though congregations aren’t allowed to sing, the worship teams lead us in the same old songs.

Just to be clear, the songs aren’t bad. Many of them are full of God’s praise, his triumph, and celebration. But in a world that has seen 27,000,000 Covid-19 infections and 900,000 people die, is it okay not to celebrate?

Where are the songs that lead us to ask, “How long, Lord?” The Psalms are of full of individuals and communities bringing their deepest hurts and pain to God, and wanting him to act. They are called psalms of lament.

Lamenting and praising exist together. It is in the wrestling with pain, when compared to promises of God, that we find the depth of our hope. Mark Vroegop write this:

‘Belief in God’s mercy, redemption,and sovereignty create lament. Without hope in God’s deliverance and the conviction that he is all-powerful, there would be no reason to lament when pain invaded our lives.’

Maybe I’m more sensitive to dark days, as someone walking through depression, however my sense is that people are struggling these days. As Jesus followers it is a privilege to walk together is these days of dark clouds in a way that enables each of us to jointly take our burdens to Christ.

We aren’t used to lament in our society. Here’s a rough liturgy I would use to help people connect with the idea of lament as we continue to walk our Covid-19 world in a way directs them to God.

Teach me to lament

Psalm 13

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I store up anxious concerns within me,
Agony in mind every day?
How long will my enemy dominate me?

Consider me and answer, Lord my God.
Restore brightness to my eyes;
Otherwise, I will sleep in death.
My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,”
And my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your faithful love;
My heart will rejoice in your deliverance.
I will sing to the Lord
Because he has treated me generously.

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