Lamenting: The Cornerstone of Praise
An Introduction to a Biblical
Journey of Grieving
BY SARA KERNAN
The first time a Christian told me it was OK to lament was in college. I had left the world I was comfortable with in Kodiak, Alaska to study at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago. It was a shock to my system and I quickly realized I had a lot of baggage that checked in with me in my cross country move. As someone who feels things deeply, I found myself on the floor of my door overwhelmed by the weight of living in a fallen world. I felt burdened by the brokenness around me and by the ignored hurts in my own life. I felt helpless under the weight of burdens I was carrying. And my friend, in this messy moment, spoke to me about lament. She gave me the book, Prophetic Lament by Soong-Chan Rah and it changed my life. I started to pursue knowledge of empathy and learned how to listen well. I became a student of grief, empathy, and lament. I learned about empathy from Brene Brown. I poured over laments in the Psalms and fell in love with the book of Job.
Years of hiding from my emotions and humanness started to find healing. I learned from my research, my studies, books of the Bible, my classes, the work of Soong-Chan Rah, and life that lament is necessary. Lament is the cornerstone of praise.
Now, I love lament. I know it to be Biblical and I am grieved that we don’t talk about it in church. Heck, we don’t even talk about it with each other. How often do we sugarcoat our grief when we are asked: "how are you doing today?" We are embarrassed and why wouldn't we be? The way the church presently handles lament is painful. We shame each other instead of building each other up and grieving communally. We act as if we have no first hand experience with the consequences of sin and we allow our brothers and sisters to grieve in solitude because it's too painful to grieve with them. And that's when we wonder why we haven't seen so-in-so in church in a while.
So-in-so has been me. I have walked through seasons where my lament was very much alone and other seasons where other believers came beside me and shared their laments too. Together –– we found community in the body of Christ and praise that was more profound and deep than I have ever experienced in my private grieving.
I am passionate about lament. It may seem ironic, but by learning how to grieve and lament I have found a greater peace in Christ. I have grown in my own faith. And my heart hurts every time I speak with a friend and they skip the lament thinking it's wrong to grieve, wrong to cry. Lament is a journey, not a destination. And with the holidays rolling in, it can feel as if lament is being stamped out when in reality? Anyone grieving anything knows that milestones can be harder. The business of winter can be suffocating.
Kindreds, let's walk together. We believe that we were created for community and we want to help develop a community that draws together and points to the greater picture. Throughout this month we will be sharing laments and encouraging you to reflect and maybe work on your own lament too. Our laments cover the loss of loved ones, observing other's loss, loss of dreams, and beyond. We ache with you. And you are not alone.
Welcome to the journey of worship, praise, and growth. It starts here, in the hurt. But praise God, it does not end there.
Dear Papa God,
Please cover this series. Help us learn how to love you and navigate the emotions and heartaches of living in this fallen world. We love you but sometimes we do not understand us. Take our lament and lead us to richer praise.