Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
-Psalm 130: 1-2, NIV
Recently, Jeff Arnold, one of our members, shared this quote with me from Richard Rohr:
Intelligently responding to the Coronavirus demands that we access resources of physical, emotional and spiritual resilience. One practice Christianity has developed to nurture resilience is lamentation. Prayers of lamentation arise in us when we sit and speak out to God and one another-stunned, sad, and silenced by the tragedy and absurdity of human events. . . Without this we do not suffer the necessary pain of this world, the necessary sadness of being human.
Walter Brueggemann, my favorite Scripture teacher, points out that even though about one third of the Psalms are psalms of "lament," these have been the least used by Catholic and Protestant liturgies. We think they make us appear weak, helpless, and vulnerable, or show a lack of faith. So we quickly resort to praise and thanksgiving. We forget that Jesus called weeping a "blessed" state (Matthew 5:5) and that only one book of the Bible is named after an emotion: Jeremiah's book of "Lamentation."
I quoted from Psalm 130 above because it is considered a "lament Psalm." Simply praying the words of a Psalm like this one gives voice to what we may be feeling at times like these. Crying out to God for help is a type of worship, not weakness. I want to encourage you to use this time to pray for those who are hurting - to cry out for God to help us all. And while we as Christians believe the last words are hope and resurrection, our first words may need to be lament - that things are not yet the way they are supposed to be.