Dear church,

Our joint Service of Prayer and Lament with Lincoln Square and Covenant this week was personally very powerful for me, as I’ve heard it was also for many of you. I’m so grateful to the diverse representatives of each congregation who articulated their laments for us all to hear. They named with vulnerability, honesty, and courage the things that are not the way they are supposed to be. They said things that I need to hear and say, which are often hard for me to hear and say.

I’d like to share with you some of their laments in written form. The authors have given permission for them to be shared. Please take the time to read them prayerfully and slowly. As you read them, there will be times when the lament puts to words exactly what you feel. There will probably also be times when that doesn’t happen. Both experiences are important. Paul tells us in Romans 12 that for love to be genuine it looks like rejoicing when the other rejoices and mourning when the other mourns. The Christian practice of lament involves not only us articulating our own laments to God but also us standing in solidarity with others, bringing also their lament before God.

I hope you find these laments helpful. One thing the church has to offer the world is genuine lament that tells the truth about ourselves and our world and about the God who hears and saves. Taking the time to lament guards against simplistic, rushed solutions as well as thin notions of God’s salvation. I talk about its impotence in this week’s episode of our new podcast.

Also, I’m sharing with permission a litany of lament that our youth group wrote together on 5/31/20. I’m so grateful for the heart, words, and prayers of our next generation.

Pastor Jeff