THE REPENTANCE PROJECT / AN AMERICAN LENT
WEEK I / DAY II
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Scripture / Psalm 60:1-5
You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us;
you have been angry — now restore us!
You have shaken the land and torn it open;
mend its fractures, for it is quaking.
You have shown your people desperate times;
you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner
to be unfurled against the bow.
Save us and help us with your right hand,
that those you love may be delivered.
Our History and Its Legacy
Lament is an expression of sorrow. It is grief and recognition of death and loss. To lament together is to create the space, physically and emotionally, for wailing and praying and anger, for disbelief and all the other emotions that come with a death.
We see the practice of lament in Scripture. Especially in the Psalms. Sixty of the 150 chapters are laments that the world is not the way God intended. We see lament in Lamentations, Jeremiah, Jesus in Gethsemane.
We need to be reminded that our cries are not too much for God. That He laments with us. In fact, He wants us to come to him in our anger, in our fear, in our loneliness, in our hurt, in our confusion.
Each of the lamenting Psalms has a structure.
They begin with a COMPLAINT. A sobriety about the brutality of the world and a complaint against a God that we believe made all things good.
They turn to a REQUEST. “God, Do Something!” Deliver Me! Rescue Me! Heal Me! Restore Us! Bring your Peace! Display your Justice! Shower Mercy! Do Something!
Laments end with an EXPRESSION OF TRUST. Sometimes these expressions are incredibly jarring when read in the Psalms and other places. In the midst of the brokenness, an expression that the way things are now is not as God intended, designed, or desired. Laments end with the reminder that God is setting things right, even though it often seems so slow. It is right for our laments to turn towards our own reminder that God is in control and about the business of righting all things made wrong.
We lament, because we are being reminded this Lenten season that something has gone terribly wrong in our history as a nation. The sin of the enslavement of African-Americans runs so deep that it still affects so much of our culture and country today. We are taking this time to learn and to pray through this study so that we can ask God to forgive, cleanse, and heal us.
And we are calling out in prayer knowing that we have a Savior who is able to empathize with us in our weakness. We are able to enter into our laments with confidence knowing Jesus is in the resurrection business and death never has the last word when Jesus is on the throne.
Reflection and Response / Prayer of Lament
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night but I find no rest.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
— Psalm 22:1-5
Written by Aaron Graham