Rediscovering Lament during the Pandemic
A lament is defined as a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. It is vocalising our pain during grief while we search for meaning and continue to seek God’s intervention. The Bible has an entire book – lamentations, which focusses on a lament due to the destruction of Jerusalem. Over a third of the psalms are laments. Jesus quoted from Psalm 22, while he was on the cross, which is also a psalm of lament.
Many biblical scholars have identified lament as unique – it enables us to express our sorrows, our grief, and our pain by keeping us engaged with God even as we go through challenging times. This kind of engagement with God during difficult times helps us keep our faith even as we express our frustrations and despairs.
The writer of lamentations focusses on utter despair, destruction and gloom prevailing upon God’s people. But right amid the lament, the verses “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion therefore I will wait for him.””(3:22-24) are embedded reminding us through the midst of trials God remains our hope and strength.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion therefore I will wait for him.””
As the pandemic raged across the world, many have found comfort and solace by rediscovering laments. IFES has also planned for a global week of lament from August 2nd – 6th 2021. Our eyes have seen the terrible; our ears have heard the despair; our feet have encountered harsh terrain; our hearts ache with the brokenness around. The LORD invites us to solidarity ~ to weep together and hope together. Together, we will climb. Together we will thrive! Together, …. ‘Messengers of Hope’!!
A Covid lament
The young and old are wailing in the streets
With their loved ones covered in white sheets
Infants suck on a dead mother’s breast
Orphaned children walk with unrest
If this your wrath be- Oh Lord
Consumed by it – are we
How long to writhe in pain – Oh Lord
Faint are our spirits within
Innumerable bodies everyday are piled
Thrown as though an animal wild
The graveyard hisses and wags her head
Open mouthed – looks to devour the dead
If this your indignation be – Oh Lord
To its fierceness, we succumb
How long will you watch us groan Oh Lord
We crumble beneath your blow
Health care system is crumbling
Governments, to act, are fumbling
In the street unknown fear enslaves
Within closed doors, uncertainty remains
If this your spurned fury be, Oh Lord
We mourn and lament afore you
How long will our hearts wring in agony
Have mercy, lest we perish in a spur
Although you cause distress and grief
You are still our Commander in Chief
One so compassionate and abounding in love
You do not willingly afflict from above
If this your admonition be- Oh Lord
Have mercy and pardon us our many sins
However long it takes, Oh Lord
Keep us clinging to that rugged Cross
Written by Sarah Anji, after her daily devotions on the book of Lamentations; from the Bible.