Our need for lament

This week hundreds of thousands of women marched across the world for a variety of reasons. Some marched for environmental and creation care reasons. Some marched for equal pay for women in the workplace and for the treatment of women to be viewed as equals and not objects for male gratification. Some marched to keep the Affordable Care Act so many of them and millions across our nation depend on for adequate healthcare. Some marched to take a stand against the racist, xenophobic and sexist remarks newly elected President Trump has said. Some marched for LGBTQI rights that are in jeopardy with a new Supreme Court nominee coming. Some marched in support of #BlackLivesMatter. Some marched for refugees and to stand against the building of a wall between America and Mexico. Some marched for their reproductive rights. Some marched for racial healing and for the safety of racial and religious minorities. Some marched for rights for those with disabilities. Some for several other reasons as well that I can't quite think of at the moment, and many marched for all of the above.

Regardless, millions of people worldwide, including myself, are lamenting. Merriam-Webster defines "lament" as a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. Lament is painful. Lament is difficult. Lament is something nobody should just be told to "get over" and move on. This leads me to my point: Our churches should be the places people can lament. They should not be places where people have to hide their pain. It should not be a place where they put on a happy face because that's what you do in church. God is giving us an opportunity to be a place where people can come share their deepest sorrows and we allow them that space. People need a place to cry. People need a place to yell. They need a place to be human. We need to give space in our worship for lament. We don't need to stay in lament, but many times we do not even give space for it. We want people to fall in line with our church customs and to not rock the boat too much or else our eyes may be opened to something that makes us have to change and impacts our faith.

When we invite people to join us, we must be inviting their whole person. Their joyous self. Their grieving self. Their lamenting self. Their laughing self. The church should be the place where you become your truest self, and in order for us to be our truest self we have to deal with the hard emotions as well. Jesus did not avoid lament (see the Garden of Gethsemane), and Jesus did not avoid lamenting people. Yes, let us walk toward faithful liberation, but let us also find time for lament.