Reconnecting with Hope Through Lament
This has been quite a week. My week started by recording the latest episode of the StoryWagen podcast with Chaplain Jose Martinez, Broadway's former Interim Minister. (Click here to listen) I had the honor of being the guest host, interviewing Jose about Ambiguous Loss, Frozen Grief, and Disenfranchised Grief.
From our conversation, it became increasingly clear to me that our individual and collective stories about the future must contain hope. Jose tells us that despair is what happens when our future stories are distorted by an absence of hope. In this moment when American billionaires have profited $434 billion during this pandemic, an unarmed George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, and more than 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, we need hope more than ever.
Our ancient ancestors had a way of expressing grief, pain, and despair - a way to reconnect with hope. Through the practice of lament, we are invited to name who God is to us, remind ourselves of previous joys, ask for help with our current challenge, and profess our gratitude and hope for a different experience.
Today, I invite you to engage with Lament. Here are the steps:
1. Address and Introductory Cry:
Name who you are addressing, name what's happening.
2. Express your Distress, your lament, the real problem:
Why has _____________ happened?
3. Stop and Remember, ConfessTrust:
Name a point in time when tragedy was in front of you and you made it through.
4. Plea, Prayer, What You Want God to do about it:
Name what you/we need to repair the harm and begin healing.
5. Gratitude, Vow of Praise:
Name one thing that will help you know that one day you/we will be on the other side of it.
Here are the steps in action in Psalm 124, in case it is helpful to you:
1. With my voice I cry out to the LORD;
with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.
I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.
When my spirit faints within me,
you know my way!
2. In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for my soul.
3. I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
4. Attend to my cry,
for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me!
Bring me out of prison,
that I may give thanks to your name!
5. The righteous will surround me,
for you will deal bountifully with me.
I would love to read your Lament. You can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or tag @broadwaychurchkc in your Facebook or Instagram post.