In our Lent Study this year we will look at Lament and the Psalms.
A quick search in dictionaries for a definition of lament reveals that it’s: to express sorrow, regret or unhappiness about something, or it’s a formal expression of sorrow or mourning. But Biblical Lament is actually much more than this. It’s not just a formal expression of sorrow.
When we experience loss, grief is inevitable. In St. Augustine’s terms, we’re each a collection of loves that bind us to people, places, and practices. Whenever these bonds of love are severed, we grieve. Grief isn’t a choice; we’re subject to it whether we like it or not.
Lament, by contrast, is the exercise of spiritual agency in the face of loss. As a spiritual practice lament seeks to incorporate the experience of loss into the broader story of our lives before God. Where grief threatens to shatter the coherence of our story, lament re-opens our hearts to the possibility of a recovered sense of wholeness. Lament doesn’t internalise our pain, sorrow or loss, but helps us to call out to God. So it’s not just an expression of deep emotion resulting from loss, it calls to God for action and ends in praise to God. To lament is to join a long line of those who have wrestled with God in the midst of their sorrow.
We find lament throughout the Old Testament. Most clearly we find lament in the Psalms and these are referred to extensively throughout the New Testament. The Psalms are the Prayer Book of the Bible. As such they encompass the full range of human experiences—and in particular make room for experiences of suffering through Psalms of Lament.
The sessions will be centred around the following headings:
- The Need for Lament
- The Power of Lament
- Lament and the Suffering of Others
- Collective Grief
- Lament as an Act of Love
There will be a group meeting on Zoom
Wednesday Evenings from 7:30-9:00pm
(24th February and 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th March)
Zoom details have been circulated by email
The material will also be available on paper, by email and on the Web Site at:
For more details or to receive paper or emailed copies of the materials speak to James (contact details).