Lament

22 posts

Permission to Lament

Shortly after Mack died our good friend and colleague Gary Knoppers gave me Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Lament for a Son. Gary included a brief note, offering his condolences and sharing that NW had been one of his “main profs” at Calvin and that Eric, the son who had died in a tragic accident, had been his friend and housemate. Gary died shortly before Christmas, taken far too early by cancer, but leaving an incredible legacy of […]

Lest we return…

History does provide distance, but it does not erase the reality of what happened. Nor can changes in ideology or a desire for it to have been different. Yes, it is the nature of humans to harm one another, to be self-centered, and this leads to everything from petty grasping to the wars and atrocities that have never ended. It is human nature, but it is not human destiny. We must not forget and that […]

Holiday Grieving

I do not remember when Grandad was first showing signs of illness, I was only a kid, after all. In fact, I hardly remember any of the dates from that time. Looking back, I realize how hard it all was on the family, the anxiety and tension that was palpable in relationships yet the source of which was a mystery to a boy just emerging into his teen years. I do remember that it was […]

To every thing there is a season.

“Where we find grace to help in time of need.”

Proper 23 (28) (October 14, 2018) First reading and Psalm Job 23:1-9, 16-17 Psalm 22:1-15 Second reading Hebrews 4:12-16 Gospel Mark 10:17-31 “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” I love comedy. Not sit-coms like Friends or Brooklyn 99, I enjoy those very much, but what I really love are stand-up comics, the British panel quiz shows, and topical humor like NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. The latter is celebrating their […]

Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?

In Rom. 8:26-39 Paul cites Ps. 44:22 in a curious way. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced […]

Toppled Cross

Lamentations of Healing

One year ago I started what would be a 9 month call to be the interim rector at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, TN. This was my first service with them, one year ago, and oddly enough it was the only time in the three-year cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary that a significant portion of Lamentations was assigned for a Sunday service. The text here is somewhat abbreviated. You can listen to my […]

“A prayer of one afflicted, when faint and pleading before the Lord.”

The psalm assigned for today’s Morning Prayer is 102. Powerful, poignant, and a reminder both of the importance of lament in our prayer life and of faith within the midst of lament. Psa. 102:0   A prayer of one afflicted, when faint and pleading before the LORD. 1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you. 2 Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to […]

Q: What are the principal kinds of prayer?

We are preparing some of our youth at St. B’s for confirmation and in so doing are working our way through the Catechism: An Outline of the Faith. As I was preparing last week I noticed the question referenced in the title. The Catechism reads as follows, Q: What are the principal kinds of prayer? A: The principal kinds of prayer are adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, and petition. Notice something missing? Where is lament? If you […]

Fall into the arms of God

Proper 19 (24) (September 11, 2016), Trinity Church, Tyrone, PA Readings: Exodus 32:7-14 Psalm 51:1-10 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-10 Today is the 15th anniversary of the attacks on New York City and Washington, DC. Thousands lost their lives that day and thousands more have died in the conflicts since. Students in college today have never not known a time when we were not in a war against terror. Compared with the rest of the world, our […]

‘The Light of the World,’ by Elizabeth Alexander – NYTimes.com

It is the reviewer’s comments that I find interesting here. I had no idea that there was a term for these books, let alone that it was a growing trend.  [I]t is what’s become known as a “grief memoir.” Its points of overlap with similar books lead the reader to a conclusion: Without secular rituals to guide us, such memoirs have become our primers in the logic and ethics of mourning. They are what we […]