An Invitation to Grieve
Updated: Jun 17, 2020
I am grieving. I noticed the signs many weeks ago and the reasons for grieving have only escalated over the past week or so. Some of the dimensions of grief I am experiencing are: shock, denial, anger, depression, confusion, sorrow, acceptance, and hope. I don’t think I am alone and I believe it is perfectly understandable. I believe that many, like me, are experiencing grief.
When I read Scripture, I see that God grieved. Jesus wept - more than once. Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet who wrote the book of Lamentations says, “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.” (Lamentations 3:28-30 MSG)
One of the things I am drawn to in the season of grieving is the spiritual practice of lament. Mark Vroegop writes, “The practice of lament is one of the most theologically informed things a person can do.” Lament is a form of prayer in which we express sorrow, mourning, or regret. It allows us to name our pain in the presence of God and express how we feel to God in every stage of grieving. Prayers of lament help us navigate pain and suffering. In lament, we draw nearer to the heart of Christ who knows our every sorrow. And in our suffering, when we cannot formulate the words to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us. Expressing our pain doesn’t change or fix what we are going through; it allows us to experience a greater trust and hope in God.
The Psalms give us multiple examples of the practice of lament. In fact, there are more psalms of lament than there are psalms of praise, making up about one-third of the entire book of Psalms. The psalms of lament give us a pattern for the prayer of lament: 1) calling on God, 2) naming our suffering, complaint, or sin to God, 3) requesting help from God, 4) affirming our trust in God, 5) offering heartfelt praise to God.
So, for anyone who wants to join me, I’m offering an invitation to come together (online) for the spiritual practice of lament. I will facilitate the process of individual lament as we engage in silence together. I wrote in a recent blog that I have discovered “the beauty of coming together with others” for spiritual practices. Though I offer this through my church, it is open to everyone. And since we meet online, the opportunity to come together as a community has no geographical limits. Preregistration is required to participate so use the link below to sign up.
Because of the high emotions and volatility of current issues, I think it is important for me to say that coming together for the prayer of lament is not a place for verbalizing our grievances. It is an intentional time of silence for you and the Lord alone; to say what you need to say to Him, and Him alone.
Be Still: Spiritual Practices in Community Online
June 9, 2020 – Prayer of Lament
7:00 – 8:00 pm
If you missed this opportunity but are interested in Christian spiritual practices in community, Be Still meets monthly. More information at: Be Still: Spiritual Practices in Community Online
Resources on Lament:
Invitations from God by Adele Calhoun
Dare to Hope in God: How to Lament Well (Desiring God article)