A Sabbath Week of Lament — Sunday

Ralph Stover State Park, PA
Stovers Park, Pennsylvania Rock Formation


: to mourn aloud; to wail.
1 : to express sorrow, mourning, or regret for,
…  often demonstratively : to mourn
2 : to regret strongly
A new series begins next Sunday. Each day at midnight, I will post a series of three laments, one to correspond to each of the three “hours” of prayer that were part of the Jewish life during the time of Christ, and that continue to this day in observant Jewish homes.
The first “hour” of the day was in the morning, roughly, between 6 and 9 AM. The Afternoon “hour” was between noon and 3 PM and the Evening “hour” was between 6 PM and midnight. (For more on the history and particulars, see this post Why I Am and Am not Writing about Riots and Injustice.)
The desire in these posts, is to give voice to the horrors that we have witnessed in our nation over the last few weeks as we have witnessed the racism, injustice, violence, distrust, rage anquish, and inequity that plagues our culture. It should be a time of deep sorrow for our nation—a time to mourn and wail and to express in biblically-weighted language, to lament over our need for real repentance for our nation and fresh mercies from God.

Especially now, with the human exhaustion over the same issues being portrayed every night, every newscast, every talk show, every radio program, every facebook, instagram, and twitter post, the relentlessness of the anxiety and fear and anger being portrayed often leaves us no time to deeply mourn and then to express that mourning to God in any self-reflective way. 

Lyrics of Love and Sorrow

Why do this? 

Because our culture is in pain.
Biblical lament is prayer out of pain. Biblical lament is prayer out of a deep sense of an awareness of our participation in corruption and our need to escape that corruption. And so, biblical lament is a cry to God for rescue from the corruption that surrounds us, some of which we may have helped to create.
Traditionally, seven psalms have been identified as “Communal Lament Psalms” (Psalm 44, 60, 74, 79-80, 85, 90). I will use those 7 psalms supplemented by the penitential psalms, also seven in number, (Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 142) as the basis for these posts.
These Psalms will give me the biblically-weighted language to create new Laments to guide my own heart and the hearts of my “internet congregation”. I want to help my heart cry out to God with passion, with fervor. And I want to help my readers cry out to God with passion.
So, look for the them in the early morning to begin your day starting this Sunday through the following Saturday. This is not the only thing we should do in this moment. But my hope is that they will be a reminder that the greatest work of a Christian, the first work of a Christian in this national moment of pain is repentance and prayer expressed with passion (lament) to a merciful and holy God who decries the injustice of our time and calls us to Himself. 

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