Advent and Christmas at St. Mark's

Creating a Space for Lament

by The Rev Beth Knowlton on October 13, 2021

“O Lord, I call to you; my Rock, do not be deaf to my cry; lest, if you do not hear me, I become like those who go down to the Pit. Hear the bone of my prayer when I cry out to you, when I lift up my hands to your holy of holies.” -Psalm 28:1&2
 
One of the sacred tasks of the church is to create spaces that allow us to share our griefs and burdens with one another and with God. Depending on what messages we received in our upbringing, we may tend to think that sadness, grief, and anger are not appropriate feelings to share with God. The psalms provide such a counter-witness to such thoughts. There is not an emotion that is not expressed to God and community in these texts. As a central part of our sacred texts we can learn our emotions are also welcome into the dialogue of our faith journey.
 
In the adult forum these past weeks we have discussed the importance of grieving our losses in community so we can move forward with hope. As sacramental people, we honor and understand the power of doing this liturgically. When we hear Scripture and pray with one another, our stories are linked to the stories of the people of God.
 
One thing that may happen in grief and sadness is a real sense of isolation and alienation. We forget who we were before the loss, we may experience a need for a reintegration of who we understand ourselves to be. When we are caught up in grief, it often opens up other areas of grief in our lives, amplifying and deepening the current loss. By allowing ourselves to offer these losses to God, our testimony is heard and our lament is honored. To lament is to offer the fullness of human experience to God and be honored in that expression.
 
October is designated a month to honor those who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. This is a loss that is at times not shared in community or with our loved ones. Yet, it is a painful loss of potential in the life of a family. We are offering a contemplative service this Sunday at 5.00pm to create a safe place to grieve these losses. Whether this has impacted you or someone you love, recently, or years ago, please consider coming to this service. It will have space for quiet and remembrance. We will lament with one another and allow the expression of our mixed emotions. The service will also be streamed if you prefer a more private space to pray along with us.
 
Peace, Beth+

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