Laments from the Heart
In the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, Jeremiah, “the weeping prophet”,
not only laments, grieves, suffers for the condition of his world and God’s people sent into exile.
He laments, grieves, and suffers with his people in the depths of exile.
Perhaps in our day and age, instead of just bemoaning “the worst of times,”
and acting as if what happens around us is not of ultimate concern,
we might pray for God’s world and all God’s people, all created in God’s image,
and join in solidarity with all who suffer or grieve.
Instead of just being prophetic about what is wrong with the world,
we might join Jeremiah in being priestly to bring healing and balm to the world.
The art of lament didn’t end with the Old Testament.
There continue to be people who put words together in creative ways
that enable us to give us voice for the feelings we cannot always keep silent.
Here is a modern lament by David Bjorlin that can be sung to “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.”
“When Our World Is Rent by Violence”
When our world is rent by violence
and our lives are marred by grief,
when our songs of calm assurance
turn to cries of unbelief:
God, we raise our lamentation
seeking refuge and relief.
When our cities stand forsaken
and the poor must beg for bread,
when the pris’ner sits forgotten
and the homeless find no bed,
God we raise our lamentation:
waken justice from the dead!
When our lives are burnt to ashes
and our hopes fade like a dream,
When our stories lose their meaning
and despair becomes their theme,
God, we raise our lamentation:
Come, Lord Jesus, to redeem!
Raise up beauty from the ashes;
end our violence; tend our peace.
Give us visions of a future
where all captives find release,
where oppression is evicted,
and all works of hatred cease.