A liturgy for lament from 'Opening the doors'
Walter Brueggemann wrote, “Jesus knew what we numb ones must always learn again: that weeping must be real because endings are real; and that weeping permits newness. His weeping permits the kingdom to come... Only those who embrace the reality of death will receive the new life. Implicit in his statement is that those who do not mourn will not be comforted and those who do not face the endings will not receive the beginnings.” Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic imagination (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 57.
Lament is an important part of worship, the Bible is full of lament, from the cries of the Psalmist to the words of Jesus praying in the garden before his arrest and crucifixion. We need to recognise that sorrow and death are part of life and speak out our pain in faith. If we do not mark our losses and grieve it is hard to take the next, forward steps in faith and life.
MAY OUR TEARS SPEAK (LITURGY) God of all, we stand at the door and weep. The world around changed as we watched from our homes. There is much we have lost, loved ones and people we may have come to know, brothers and sisters, friends and family. We have lost some of our freedoms, our way of living and many of our hopes. We have lost security, purpose and role, many fear for their livelihood and that of their families. We have grieved in silence and solitude, we have watched our departed become statistics, our mourning displaced by daily charts and unfeeling graphs. May our tears speak where our words cannot.
God of community, we stand at the door and weep. We have lost time to learn and explore, friendships faded through absence, celebrations long dreamed of missed and forgotten. Hard worked for ambitions and personal goals handed to strangers to determine. We have watched as pixelated grandchildren took their first step and connections dropped at crucial moments. We have distanced ourselves from friends and neighbours, waved from behind fences and shouted through windows. We have lost the casual connection, the supermarket aisle catch-up, the unexpected conversation. We have watched as friends and neighbours turned on each other, as frustration and indignation tore families apart. May our tears speak where our words cannot.
God of the church, we stand at the door and weep. We have missed each other, we have tried to hold it together, we have zoomed and skyped but as good as they are, we have missed the way a smile infects a room and the sparkle of the spirit in each other’s eyes. We have longed for the handshake and the hug, the hand on the shoulder and the clap on the back. We have been so desperate to sing songs of peace and joy, to break bread and share words that we have clung to what we can stream. We have become fixated on return when you call us forward. May our tears speak where our words cannot.
God of peace, we stand at the door and weep. We offer ourselves as peacemakers, as healers and lovers. We do not have the answer, but we share the tears of those around us. We have still more to lose, because things will never be the same, we must find a new way to be, your way. A way that may mean letting go of all that we longed for as you gift us a new calling to a new world. But in this moment, we stand at the door and weep for what we have lost and will lose, We weep for those whose passing we have not been able to mark, for those whose grief we have not been able to ease, for those whose lives have been ripped apart and whose future feels shattered. God all we ask is you hear our cries in the silence, our tears in the stillness, our prayers in the gap between what was and what is to come. May our tears speak where our words cannot.
God of creation, we stand at the door and weep for what has ended and for what there is to come. We weep for endings and beginnings, we weep for a church that is changed, a world that is hurting and for the kingdom that is to come. May our tears speak where our words cannot.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 Relieve the troubles of my heart, and bring me out of my distress. 18 Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. 19 Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. 20 O guard my life, and deliver me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. Psalm 25:16-20