Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Crying out...

How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? ....
Psalm 13 (KJV)

Thinking about grief because of some reflections on Facebook. I went searching and found "The Way of Lament," from which:
Dictionaries define the word lament as “feeling or expressing sorrow or grief.” It’s not a word we use much these days. In fact, lamenting is an art that we don’t often practice in Western culture. Rather than express our emotions, we tend to hide them, distract ourselves from feeling them, or even pretend they don’t exist. When difficult circumstances cut into our lives, we are likely to seek out false saviors to rescue us. We bury ourselves in work, entertainment, or a pint of ice cream. We might even take things into our own hands and attempt to control our circumstances. We’ll do anything but face the pain and heartache we feel.

Yet, Scripture is filled with lament. Habakkuk lamented the coming judgment on Israel. The book of Lamentations is one long lament. Our Savior cried out a lament in the garden of Gethsemane. The psalms of lament are poetic songs that give voice to the sorrows and pains of God’s people.

The laments in Scripture do more than just voice painful emotions. The psalms of lament, in particular, go further than just releasing pent-up emotions. They are more than mere catharsis. Within themselves, these psalms are a theology, a doxology, a form of worship. They are reminders of truth. They are exercises in faith. They are transformative for the believer. And there is much we can learn from them.

While the psalms of lament were written by a variety of psalmists, in various circumstances, and for varying reasons, they nevertheless share a common structure and pattern. Nearly all the laments move from the negative to positive, from sorrow to joy, and from fear to trust. The laments represent the journey of the soul. In following the way of the psalmist, we can learn the art of lament so that we, too, can cry out to God in the midst of our pain. ....
Lord, we beseech Thee, give ear to our prayers,
and by Thy gracious visitation
lighten the darkness of our heart,
by our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen (BCP)
The Way of Lament

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