Walter Brueggemann, an OT scholar, points out that even though about 1/3 of the Psalms are psalms of “lament,” these have been the least used by the church. Perhaps, we think they make us appear weak, helpless, and vulnerable, or show a lack of faith. I’m in agreement with a growing sentiment that the church needs to add worship liturgies, readings, and even songs that voice our “complaints,” our weaknesses as a people to God.
More often we quickly resort to psalms of praise and thanksgiving. We forget that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus called weeping a “blessed” position to find ourselves in.
Blessed are they that mourn”—Matthew 5:5.
Remember only one book of the Bible is named after an emotion: Jeremiah’s book of “Lamentation.”
Some 50 psalms can be called prayers of lament. I hope that you might find the text of Psalm 22 a way to voice your own complaints, requests, and trust in God, who is always waiting to hear. This text is the one Jesus prayed as he hung on Calvary’s tree.
We need to be reminded that our cries are not too much for God. [God] laments with us. In fact, [God] wants us to come to HIM. He wants us to recognize the Divine Presence in all of life—even in our anger, in our fear, in our loneliness, in our hurt, and in our confusion.
Each lamenting Psalm has a structure;
They begin with a complaint. . . that things are not as they should be.
They turn to a request. God, do something! Rescue me! Heal me! Restore me! Show mercy!
Laments end with an expression of trust. Laments end with the reminder that God is setting things right, even though it often seems so slow. It is right for our laments to turn towards a reminder that God is in control and about the business of righting all things made wrong.Richard Rohr
Consider praying these words today as found in Psalm 22 or choose another passage of lament.
Before you pray, ask God to speak to you. . .
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;Psalm 22:1-5
in you, they trusted and were not put to shame.
May God’s grace be evident to you today in all that you see, feel, and do. Stay safe; stay well; and stay connected to one another in ways that you are able!