I’m not going to say much but rather push you to this article written by Peter Enns’ posted on Pathos. Peter said some things I’ve thought (and felt) but couldn’t articulate. I’ve pastored long enough, worked in a church long enough to know the one thing we DON’T know how to do is lament. Not as individuals, families or communities of faith.
Here’s a few excerpts. I hope it entices you enough to click on the link and read the whole article.
Like Psalm 44. Israel is in some national crisis. The people expected God to show up and help, but he didn’t.
The psalmist mentions how they have always put their trust in God, but now God has,
- “rejected us and abased us”…
- “you have made us like sheep for slaughter”…
- “sold your people for a trifle”…
- “made us a taunt…a byword…a laughingstock”
Thanks a lot. All this has happened, even though “we have not forgotten you, or been false to your covenant.” So, God, here’s an idea: “Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord. Awake, do not cast us off forever.”
Translation: “God, you’re asleep at the switch, it’s your fault, don’t even try to blame this on us.”
Enns continues to expound on Brueggeamann’s teaching…
What can we learn from this? Here is what Brueggemann said: “Churches should be the most honest place in town, not the happiest place in town.”
Maybe we have lost the “art of lament,” where complaining to God is part of the deal. Maybe, rather than playing church and make-believe, a vital dimension of the spiritual journey is giving God an earful now and then. Maybe God can handle it. Maybe God likes it, because it means we are being real and not fake.
Maybe if you’re angry with God now and then, you’re normal. Maybe that’s part of being the people of God.
Enn’s thoughts and Brueggeamann’s teachings beg for our interaction.
Take time to read the article then noodle on what you read. When’s the last time you were taught, trained, or even witnessed someone lament (a biblical lament!) When’s the last time you’ve participated in a lament church service. (I’m not talking about a funeral but a time when we as God’s people cry out in agony wondering where He is and if He’s faithful.) When’s the last time we spent time as a people lamenting over loss: a physical death, a relational death, a dream that died, a financial death, a groaning for us and our loved ones who grieve and or quench the Spirit? You get the point. Where’s the lament? It’s in the Bible. Why isn’t it a part of our Christian expression of the Christian life?