In our culture lament is not something that we are taught how to do. In fact, most of us don’t even know what it means to lament. Grief and sadness are not feelings that are comfortable to sit in and, because of this discomfort, we are taught to move quickly through these things back into happiness. However, lament is something that is deeply central to the life of faith. In addition to the numerous psalms of lament (40% of the Psalms are laments), there is an entire book of the Bible dedicated to lament—the Book of Lamentations! Lamentations is the blues song of the Bible, and we need the blues! In this series we will take a dive into Lamentations in our series called The Thrill is Gone: Learning the Language of Lament, so that we can learn how to recover this important aspect of life with God and of what it means to be human. Series begins September 29*

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.
— Soong-Chan Rah, Prophetic Lament
Jon Batiste and Pastor Matt Kay take us into the experience of blues and lament by performing "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" during week 1 of our series on Lamentations.

Video Resources

These videos will help you gain a deeper insight in the Book of Lamentations and some of its key themes.

The American church avoids lament. But lament is a missing, essential component of Christian faith. Lament recognizes struggles and suffering, that the world is not as it ought to be. Lament challenges the status quo and cries out for justice against existing injustices.

Watch The Bible Project’s overview video on the book of Lamentations, which breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. The book itself is a collection of five funeral poems offered on behalf of Jerusalem after its destruction by Babylon.

James Cone speaks on the necessity of the blues and the theology that emerges out of black suffering.


Written Resources

Prophetic Lament: An Interview with Soong-Chan Rah

Prophetic Lament: An Interview with Soong-Chan Rah

When the World is Suffering, What Good Artists Do? by William Dyrness

When the World is Suffering, What Good Artists Do? by William Dyrness

Complaining to God by Richard Rohr

Complaining to God by Richard Rohr

Blues and Jazz: Lament and Improvisation by Barbara Holmes

Blues and Jazz: Lament and Improvisation by Barbara Holmes