Over the last five months, I’ve had countless conversations, read countless articles, and listened to countless podcasts all on this theme, “How Should Christians Respond to the reality of 2020?” To the loss of life and pain caused by the COVID-19 virus, to the persistent evil of racism, to the fractured relationships and seeming inability to have constructive, reconciling conversations in our society-how should people of Jesus respond?
Lament. I think our response begins with the biblical category of lament, seen specifically in the Psalms, Job, Lamentations, and Jesus. Lament is honest hope.
As people of the resurrection, we are not without hope. At the same time, as people of truth, we are honest. How do we do both? Ryan Sullenberger says, “lament is the language which truth makes possible.” We tell the truth about the devastation of death, disease, abuse, racism, poverty, immorality, and alienation. But we also tell the truth about the Jesus who is making all things new. The author Marilynne Robinson describes biblical hope as “constantly and intensely vulnerable.” The author G.K. Chesterton calls biblical hope as “unreasonable as it is indispensable.”
Over the next five weeks, our sermons will focus on the theme of lament. You’ll want to have an open Bible as we study, because we’ll closely read the scriptures to see the movements of lament. I pray that lament can become more of a practice in our common life together, as well as our individual discipleship.
To lay some groundwork for this conversation, Ryan Sullenberger offers this meditation on lament flowing out of some of Jemar Tisby’s thoughts in The Color of Compromise, our Wednesday night book study.
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