On Sunday our very own Tyndale Student Emma Clarke will be preaching on the subject of Lament.
A lament is a passionate expression of grief or mourning often found in music or poetry. If you have ever read through the book of Psalms, you’ll recognize over forty of the 150 psalms to be psalms of lament.
This is a timely subject for our family. On Tuesday evening, Brian’s 85 year old mother, Mary, passed away. Mary was a faithful, religious woman whose life was defined by serving God, serving her pastor husband, Bob and serving others. She loved the church and her life revolved around it.
Five or so years ago, it was clear that Mary was forgetting things. Her memory of the things that brought her joy did not seem as clear. Mary was diagnosed with dementia.
For the past four and half years, Brian’s mom has been in a caring nursing home in Picton, ON.
In her earlier time there, Mary would welcome visits and weekly heart-to-heart chats on the phone with her eldest son. In the past few years, however, when Brian would visit his mom, it was though she was looking straight through him. The mom that spent summers at the cottage with her three boys seemed very, very far away. The mom that loved to do puzzles on rainy days and sunny days alike, no longer searched the table for small pieces. She seemed, instead, to stare at his face as though she were searching to put the larger pieces of her life together. But in the searching, nothing. No recognition. The mom he knew, no longer seemed to know him. It was heart wrenching to watch. Each month she seemed to slip further and further away.
The grieving had begun, even though she was living.
My God, My God, Why?
Mourning, grieving, loss.
Scripture teaches us that it is okay to face the pain and heartache we feel. We are taught that we can and should cry out to God in the midst of that pain. The psalms of Lament are our example, each with a common structure of moving from negative to positive, from sorrow to joy. Psalms of lament are a theology, a doxology, and a form of worship. They are reminders of truth. They are exercises in faith. They are transformative for the believer. And there is much we can learn from them.
We learn that in our grief we can cry out to God (Psalm 6:6), we can ask for help (Psalm 71:12) and like the psalmist we can, in remembering the love and faithfulness of God, respond in trust and praise (Psalm 86:12).
Join us on Sunday as Emma takes us on a journey in understanding the Psalms of Lament.