Tag Archives: Lamentations

Recovering the Christian Art of the Lament

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…” (Ecclesiastes 3)


A year ago I did a multi-post blog on the art the lament, the first of which was entitled: Sometimes You Just Have To Go Ahead and Cry.” Recently, since I summarized those posts in a message for a church in the Bay Area, I thought I’d share that primer here.

I find that biblical lament is a tough theme for many and it’s not commonly considered in many Evangelical circles. I confess that as a pastor, unless it came up in a study through the Psalms or Jeremiah, I hardly gave it any notice. But I truly believe that Christians should cry more; if not actually cry, feel the pain that God feels for the mess we’ve made of our world. Continue reading


How does all this lamenting bring us any closer to God?

weepingThose who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.    Psalm 126:5-6

We’ve been talking about lamenting in general and now from a utilitarian vantage point. What good does crying about the world and its problems do? Last time we talked about how we can weep and have faith at the same time.

Now let’s look at how lamenting can actually bring us closer to God.

That’s what we’re seeking, after all, to be closer. How can that happen at the same time that we’re weeping? This objection is easier to answer, though not very pleasant in the doing. When we weep over the sins, sorrows, and sufferings of the world (along with some of our own, of course), we weep in the company of “the Man acquainted with grief.” If we want to be better acquainted with him we have to be acquainted with what he’s acquainted with. Continue reading

How can we weep and have faith at the same time?

weepingCall for the wailing women to come;
    send for the most skillful of them…
Teach your daughters how to wail;
    teach one another a lament. Jeremiah 9

Rather than beleaguer anyone with a long string of talks on the theme of lamenting I decided to inject them here and there in small doses in order to give you a break from what might at first glance seem like a downer of a theme. Lamenting is not exactly the hot topic of the day. Book titles like Learning the Art of Lament or Weeping Worshippers wouldn’t top the charts at Amazon. If you want to get a crowd, advertise a seminar on “Successful Living” or “Ten Keys to Joy.” “How to Mourn Losses” or “Grieving God’s Way” wouldn’t garner enough sign ups to pay for the hall!

Jeremiah was not-so-fondly viewed as the nation’s buzz kill for his insistence on seeing things as they were, as opposed to as they wished them to be. He raged and wept while they pretended everything was going to be just fine.

Though no one has actually said it outright, the looks I’ve noticed on some faces when I’ve talked up this topic with friends seem to be asking the question, “What good does it do to weep about the world’s problems? It’s like crying over spilt milk, isn’t it? Shouldn’t we be talking about what we can do to improve this place?” Good point. Continue reading

A Time To Weep

Ah, how Thy grace hath wooed my soul

With persevering wiles!

Now give me tears to weep; for tears

Are deeper joy than smiles.  FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER

weepingI confess that out of all the worship songs I’ve written, not one of them could be considered a lament, you know, of the book of Lamentations sort. It’s certainly not because I’m an incorrigibly cheerful guy and never have anything to cry about. I guess it just never occurred to me that sorrowful songs fit very well into my worship experience. But if you think about it, the Bible’s longest book – a songbook no less – is replete with hymns a significant portion of which tilt toward the mournful. Continue reading