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Lament is Good for the Soul

What do we do when life is all just too much? In the past week two different friends have described familiar challenges: mothers struggling with dementia, Children out of work, and Cancer treatments. In one sense, these struggles are always happening. Maybe they are new in your life or mine, but they are the stuff families have been dealing with for ages. The problem is, in this time of pandemic and social upheaval, we have fewer resources to deal with these “ordinary” life problems. So what are we to do?


A lament is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow, and the Bible is full of lament. We lament because our hearts are broken. We lament because we cannot do this alone. We lament, and God hears us.

I had my own moment of lamentation on Tuesday morning during my Morning Prayers. It was all just too much: the pandemic, racial injustice, systemic racism, closed church buildings, and my own family’s dramas. I felt overwhelmed, and I lamented. Then I turned to the Welcoming Prayer practice.

The Welcoming Prayer is a simple, powerful practice of turning things over to God. The Welcoming Prayer gives us a way to move from lamentation to hope. In a moment of despair, with a heart full of lament, I engaged the Welcoming Prayer practice: Feel and sink into what is happening in your body. Welcome what you feel and then let it go by saying, “I let go of my desire for security, affection, control, and embrace this moment as it is.”

There is a wonderful serenity that comes from this practice and in that moment of peace I found encouragement. Letting go of my desire for security, affection and control freed me to live in faith, in the knowledge that God is present and active in us, for us, and through us. I can’t fix the pandemic or the racial problems in our country, but in this moment, as it is, I can be a part of the solution. I can do God’s work of loving, caring, repenting and reconciling. We all can; individually and together.

Go ahead and lament. This is a time for lamentation. God is listening.

With love,