This is a time for lament. A time to stop and mourn with those who mourn, to stop and weep with those who weep.
Lamentation is a well-attested biblical genre, an expression of anguish at the individual or communal level. From the prophets of Israel to Jesus of Nazareth, we find examples of lamentation across the pages of Scripture. We see in these deep, heartfelt cries an instinctive plea to the God who hears, the God who sees, the God who has experienced our anguish in his own body. Tragedy, destruction, grief, and pain are all around us.
Nevertheless, we can say along with Walter Brueggemann,
But we confess that you are the God
who has descended into our several hells,
been present . . .
and then raised in power to new life.
We can follow the examples modeled for us in the pages of Scripture, pouring out our hearts to God just as they did in ages past. We can pray the Psalms of Lament for our own culture and our own time: seeking justice, loving mercy, and walking in humility with God and our neighbors.
In the Bible, the psalmists model a fitting response to trauma and hardship. Click here to open Logos and explore the Psalms of Lament in greater depth.
- To read more of Walter Brueggemann’s prayers like the one quoted above, see Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann.
- For more from Walter Brueggemann, check out From Whom No Secrets Are Hid: Introducing the Psalms or The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary.
- In Fruit for the Soul: Luther on the Lament Psalms, Dennis Ngien explores Luther’s understanding of the lament psalms as an essential part of a Christian’s understanding of the life of faith.
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