This Friday is a Good day to Lament

Grief threatens to consume

as the life a 17 year old slips away

at the hands of a brain tumour.

There was nothing they could do.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?

 

Horror and shock and anger and pain

comes in waves

as they tried to flee the bullets

of the men who invaded Garissa University.

Some got away safely

Others did not.

A nation in shock at the loss of young lives.

My God, my God why have you forsaken us?

 

Young lifeblood

Spilled on the tar

a smashed motorbike lies to the side

as a young man’s life slips away.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken him?

 

People dying of hunger

Countless lives lost in civil war

Preventable diseases ravaging impoverished communities

Men, women and child raped, violated

Rampant corruption that drains millions our of government coffers

Women and children trafficked for someone else’s pleasure

Disempowered communities helpless in the face of oppressive empires.

A world that is that crying constantly

Writhing in agony,

My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?

 

Two thousand years ago

A man hangs on a cross

blood drips from his head

his back is torn in shreds.

He lifted the heads of his people

and filled their hearts with hope

With his works and his words.

He threatened an empire that ruled with fear and force,

when he showed his people a kingdom

characterised by shalom.

But now he hangs,

the work he began left incomplete,

unfinished,

and in the depth of his pain he cries,

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.

 

The light of their lives faded before their eyes,

their hope for the coming of God’s kingdom

extinguished on the Roman cross.

They would not have thought that

that Friday was good.

It would not have been experienced

as Good Friday.

They would have been overwhelmed with grief,

with fear for the future,

with despair at the loss of the hope that burgeoned bright within them.

They too would have thought

My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?

 

To fully enter this day

we must choose to stay

with the horror

the despair

the pain

the grief.

 

We must choose to cry out in pain

and lament the sense of an absent God.

To do so would be an act of true solidarity

with Jesus’ early followers

who had no Sunday in view

who could only see the horror of the cross before them.

To do so would be an act of solidarity

with those who are in the depth of pain and despair today

in the face of dreadful death that came too soon.

 

In the face of disease,

road accidents,

terrorist attacks,

we honour the victims and their families

by not rushing towards Sunday

but by staying at the foot of the cross today,

a place where there seems to be no hope,

a place of injustice and despair,

a place of crying out in pain,

a place where we lament together,

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me…

 

On an album entitled “Garden”, by The Liturgists,

Amena Brown cries,

Maybe I shouldn’t question you.
Maybe I shouldn’t doubt you, but sometimes I do
sometimes life and tragedy and grief make it
difficult to believe you
I want to
but sometimes it’s hard to
so, where are you now?

 

And Michael Gungor sings,

Repulsed and empty in my soul
Revolted by the blatant lack of God
The torture and the pain I can’t explain
My heart cries

Oh my God, where are you?
Oh my God, where are you?
Oh my God, my God, my God

 

And so, with them, we lament.

 

Because this Friday is a Good day to Lament…

 

Will you enter with me in lament today?

What would you add to the list of laments? What pain is on your heart that you need to utter?

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8 thoughts on “This Friday is a Good day to Lament

  1. brettfish April 3, 2015 at 12:15 pm Reply

    Stunning post Nicole, thanks for sharing
    love brett fish

    • findingandowningmyvoice April 3, 2015 at 12:23 pm Reply

      Thank you Brett. As i scrolled through my facebook feed, I was struck by the many posts that evade the sense of today and rush towards Easter. I felt I needed to write this for me, to ground me in the essence of today.

  2. kelleyofamahoroafrica April 3, 2015 at 6:40 pm Reply

    They had no Sunday in view – absolutely true and important to remember as we try to stand in the Story on Friday. I know so many churches in the US that are hosting Easter Services FRI/Sat/Sun… no lingering at the foot of the cross, no long silent Saturday… just that rush to Easter. But I can’t help but sit with the women, to weep, to mourn. I think the foot of the cross is a disorienting place, when you don’t know Sunday is coming with any new news.

    • findingandowningmyvoice April 3, 2015 at 11:36 pm Reply

      Just that one fact – they had no Sunday – really helped me stay present at the cross today. And reading your post encouraged me with the thought that I’m not there alone. Thank you for being there with me.

  3. Ayla April 4, 2015 at 4:07 am Reply

    I love this. Thank you for the affirmation that it is in suffering & lamenting that we find our deepest, most sweetest resonance with Christ. Somehow the universal church has glamorized Christianity to where suffering is no longer considered a way of life. Whereas in the Bible we see that it is for God’s people with very temporary moments of reprieve scattered in between. If we acknowledge that Gesthamane like suffering exists in our lives & in the world & that it’s the whole premise behind the hope of Easter, then we can fully experience the darkness of this day, necessary in my opinion to fully experience the light of Sunday.

    • Ayla April 4, 2015 at 4:09 am Reply

      Oh & I spent all day today off social media & spent time lamenting, weeping, praising & experiencing God’s presence. First time doing this & it was life changing for me.

      • findingandowningmyvoice April 4, 2015 at 8:59 am

        Good for you. That describes my morning yesterday 🙂 I however was not as strong as you to stay off all day (*grin*)

    • findingandowningmyvoice April 4, 2015 at 8:58 am Reply

      Thank you Ayla. Lament is partly what saved my faith when I was struggling to figure out the relationship between God and suffering. I agree that the church has almost silenced our need to lament, and I believe that it needs to create space for people to do so. I also appreciate your perspective on embracing the darkness in order to fully experience the light – great point. Have a blessed Easter!

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