Sermon quotes on lament
J. Todd Billings
Scripture does not say God owes us a long life. But paradoxically, this does not mean that we accept suffering and death with a stoic fatalism. Instead, God’s people lament. In the Old Testament, not just the prospect of death but a death in the “middle” of one’s years is seen as a particular cause for lament.
J. Todd Billings
In the testimony of Daniel and the apostle Paul, it is not just “premature death” but death itself—as that which would limit the life 11R ejoicing in Lament God shares with his people—that will be defeated. It is the final enemy. But in the meantime, here in a land in which war, poverty, cancer, and disease take the lives of mortals like you and me, death is still a present enemy.
What happens when appreciation of the lament as a form of speech and faith is lost, as I think it is largely lost in contemporary usage? What happens when the speech forms that redress power distribution have been silenced and eliminated? The answer, I believe, is that a theological monopoly is reinforced, docility and submissiveness are engendered, and the outcome in terms of social practice is to reinforce and consolidate the political-economic monopoly of the status quo.
The Psalms and the Life of Faith, ed. Patrick Miller (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), p. 102.
While we lament the apparent injustice of pain and suffering, how often do we forget that every good thing in a fallen world is wholly a gift of God’s mercy and grace.
Lament, repentance, reconciliation and justice are not peripheral to the gospel but intrinsic to it.
Nothing heals us like letting people know our scariest parts: When people listen to you cry and lament, and look at you with love, it’s like they are holding the baby of you.
The American church avoids lament. The power of lament is minimized and the underlying narrative of suffering that requires lament is lost. But absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. Absence makes the heart forget. The absence of lament in the liturgy of the American church results in the loss of memory. We forget the necessity of lamenting over suffering and pain. We forget the reality of suffering and pain.
Prophetic Lament: A Call For Justice In Troubled Times
In ancient cultures, people knew how to mourn. They tore their clothes. They poured ashes on their heads. They sat in the dirt and raised their voices in lament.
Taken from The Ninefold Path of Jesus: Hidden Wisdom of the Beatitudes by Mark Scandrette Copyright (c) 2021 by Mark Scandrette. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com
Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty. Complaint is the bitter howl of unbelief in any benevolent God in this moment, a distrust in the love-beat of the Father’s heart.
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Zondervan, 2011, p.175.
I prayed to God,] “But why don’t you raise [my son] now? Why did you ever let him die? If creation took just six days, why does re-creation take so agonizingly long? If your conquest of primeval chaos went so quickly, why must your conquest of sin and death and suffering be so achingly slow?’
Lament for a Son.
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