It doesn’t matter if our workplace is at home, in a classroom, on the factory floor, or in an office cubicle, work can be a source of great frustration in our lives. Facing an urgent deadline and having a computer crash is a big pain. Dealing with difficult customers or serving at demanding boss is a big pain. Having to let an employee go or downsize the labor force is a big pain. Facing a family’s mountain of dirty laundry is a big pain. Lingering unemployment or under employment is a big pain. Work can make us want to curse. (Tom Nelson)
Yesterday we continued our series on Work by examining the brokenness of our work. As Tom Nelson brilliantly captures in the above quote from his book, Work Matters, work brings with it a curse. While God has intended work to be a holy and sacred gift, we live in a constant tension between the brokenness of this world and the sacredness of our work. The fall has unraveled things so drastically that you can work all day and produce nothing. What does faithfulness look like in the midst of these tensions?
During worship we turned to the ancient practice of lament. Stacey Gleddiesmith writes, “Biblical lament is an honest cry to a God who is powerful, good, and just—a cry that this situation is not in alignment with God’s person or purposes. It’s a cry that expects an answer from God, and therefore results in hope, trust, and joy rather than despair.”
In my message we walked through Psalm 22, outlining the basic structure of a lament:
- Address (calling upon the person and character of God)
- Complaint (description of distress)
- Petition or Request (appeal to God and reasons for divine intervention)
- Expression of Trust/Praise (concluding word of assurance and confidence that the prayer has been heard and a vow to praise God for deliverance and rescue)
Then we put the practice of lament into practice as we carved out space to create personal psalms of lament regarding our work. The prompts were simple yet significant:
Identify an aspect of your work where things are not they way they should be. This could be in the marketplace, your home, your neighborhood, community or your church? Be as specific as possible. Using the traditional framework, create your own prayer of lament.
Today I invite you to craft your own lament around the brokenness of your work!
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Our God Is Mercy (Brenton Brown)
- Mighty to Save (Hillsong)
- Alive (Hillsong Young and Free)
- A Time of Confession
- We Confess (Glenn Packiam and Ian Cron)
- Assurance of Pardon
- Announcements and Offering
- Message (The Brokenness of Work)
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this past weekend in worship at The Worship Community.