Yesterday we concluded our series on the Five Ways of Being. Our Director of Spiritual Formation, Dave Bindewald, focused our attention on God’s unfailing, steadfast love as we learned that in Psalm 136, the words, “His steadfast live endures forever” are declared 26 times. The most prominent New Testament “one another,” (repeated over 50 times) is “love one another” and the key to loving others well is to be rooted in God’s steadfast, unfailing, never-ending love. As Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9)
While our focus was on God’s love, we also acknowledged the fact that sometimes we do not personally or communally experience God’s love. In a world where terror and fear reigns, in a world where personal and relational brokenness and sadness is prevalent, how can faithful people faithfully express their pain, sorrow, sadness and questions. During our gathering we included a prayerful space, “A Time to Lament.” This liturgical piece integrated texts from Psalm 13 which were read by a leader followed by words of lament spoken by the congregation.
A Time to Lament
Leader: How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
All: O Lord, our Lord,
sometimes we feel forgotten.
O Lord, our Lord,
sometimes we feel like you have forgotten our world.
Pain, sorrow, sadness and despair are all around us –
Pain, sorrow, sadness and despair are within us –
How long will this persist?
Leader: Consider and answer me, O LORD my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
All: Why does evil seem to have the edge?
Please, Lord, stop it!
We cannot bear to see the fools of this world— have the upper hand.
We cannot bear to see your enemies believe that they will be successful.
Leader: But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
All: We long to sing your praise,
to see things become more and more the way they ought to be.
We long to see more of heaven come to earth;
for deep down, we trust in your goodness and in your steadfast love. Amen.
What place does lament have in your life, both personally and individually and corporately?
Here is our complete worship flow:
- At the Cross (Daniel Renstom)
- Forever (Chris Tomlin)
- Your Love Never Fails (Chris McClarney)
- A Time to Lament
- Our Father (Marcus Meier)
- Announcements and Offering
- At the Cross: Love Ran Red (Chris Tomlin)
- Message (Be Loving)
- Forever (Chris Tomlin)
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this past weekend in worship at The Worship Community.