Permission to Lament – 28 May 2020

It’s been 10 weeks since we have been together physically as a Church Family.  It feels like a lot longer.

I am missing getting together and seeing one another.  I miss watching the kids run to the front in Sunday School and church.  I am missing catching up on your lives and sharing a giggle or teasing one another.  I am missing each of you and so many more people I love.  I am sad about missed celebrations and not being able to be near those who are sick and grieving.  I cry often and feel sad.  I ask, “How much longer?”

I am lamenting!  Lament is an expression of loss; it is grief and sorrow.  It is complaining about the way things are and wishing they were different.  This is the season we find ourselves in. 

I want to ask you a question that someone shared was asked of them,-“What are you lamenting in this season of isolation and physical distancing?”   I want to give you permission to name your complaints, your anger, your sufferings, your frustrations and heartaches to God and to trusted companions on this journey of life and faith.  Did you know scripture is full of lament?  People crying out to God in their pain and suffering.  There are passages where people cry out, there are Psalms of Lament (12, 44, 3,4,7, 30).  Even Jesus prays a prayer of honest lament in Mark 14:32-36 where He describes His soul as being crushed with grief.

We are in good company when we feel these feelings and we have a God who wants to hear from us.  Our tears and prayers of lament, as written by Adele Calhoun, “won’t solve the problem of suffering, but they will throw us into the arms of God.”  Pete Grieg teaches that these lament passages of Holy Scripture are there to sit with us in our pain.  They remind us that He is present with us in our pain; experiencing it with us, carrying our sorrows, listening to our rage and understanding our doubts.  Grieg calls these rare treasures.  Our God will turn what seems irreversible into a message of resilient hope.  As we lament, we will learn to trust in God’s ability to hold us.  We will cast our burdens on Him and He will carry them with us.  We will come to know His presence and comfort in a new and fresh way. 

Revelation 21:3-4 tells us that one day God will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things will be gone forever.  But this is not that day—so until then, we have a place to go with all our sadness and pain.  When we take it to God, we know that we will be met with compassion, with unconditional love, with mercy and grace. 

So, in the meantime we count our gifts, we keep our spiritual eyes wide open to our daily joys-the birds singing, hot coffee, and the sun shining (most days).  We encourage one another.  We send cards, make phone calls, and send texts and emails.  We learn to live with joy and thankfulness in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), even in our sadness.

This is what I have been doing: learning to pray.

Learning much about technology has provided the opportunity to meet over Zoom and stay connected this way.  At our Tuesday evening bible study, we are studying and practicing praying the Lord’s Prayer.  Friday mornings over Zoom a group of women pray together.  I want to live a life of prayer-continual conversation with God.  I have also had the privilege to take a course to explore many different Spiritual practices that encourage a closer walk with God.  

It is time for our book club to meet too.  I still have a few copies of our latest book. The book is, “The Dearly Beloved” by Cara Wall.  It is a story full of character transformation, it is a thoughtful and beautiful multigenerational novel about love, God, jealousy and friendship.    I would love to get you one.  You have about 10 days or so to read it.  We will meet by zoom one Thursday afternoon in early June. 

It is my privilege to continue to partner with KPS and Green Heart to help to meet the needs of hurting and hungry families in our community. 

Do you want to join me in any of these endeavours or study opportunities?  If so call or email me.  I would love to chat and catch up.  I would also like to give you permission to lament! I would like to be able to love and encourage you.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:3-5

With a grateful and yet sometimes sad heart,