From Lament to Hope: Lord, in Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayers

A Call to Prayer and Reflection
Historic Evans Chapel
November & December 2020

Lamentations 1:1-2a
How lonely sits the city that once was full of people!
How like a widow she has become,
she that was great among the nations!
she that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal.
She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks….

 

Lament is more than whining; more than complaining. Lament comes from the deepest places of our souls. Lament comes when we feel lost, alone, and forsaken by everyone who loves us, and some even feel forsaken by our God.

The Book of Lamentations is a sequence of five lyric poems that lament the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE (see 2 Kings 25:8-21). Lamentations is so charged with words of sorrow, grief, and anger, as well as senses of being despondent, miserable, fragmented, and hopeless – all from the depth of the poets’ souls to express the emotions of the ancient Israelites that there are but a few verses that express hope. They are there, but we have to look for them like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack in order to hear the people of God’s stubborn and tenacious hold on life that only comes through hope.

From chapter one of Lamentations all the way to mid-way through chapter three there are no words or signs of hope … and then the glimmer appears:

19 The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall!
20 My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”
(Lamentations 3:19-24)

In this season of being at home – many of us alone – we, too, can feel these same emotions. The beginning of the Book of Lamentations reminds us of our own cities and communities that have all been closed because of the pandemic. A study on lament can help us better express our own emotions and know that they are normal, and together we can find glimmers of hope for the days yet to come when we will be reunited with our loved ones. In the meantime, we can be reunited with our God and discover just who it is that God calls us to be.

During the entire month of November, Evans Historic Chapel will be open Monday-Friday, 10:00am to 3:00pm to GPC members and friends, as well as to the community for everyone to come and have the opportunity to reflect on your own personal lament you’ve experienced during this season of pandemic.

Directional signs will help you to move around the chapel to …
•Pick up a scripture reading,
•Sit in the pews and reflectively write a word or a paragraph expressing your own lament,
•Pin your writing onto a barren tree painted on canvas located at the chancel of the chapel,
•Pick up another scripture reading that helps move you towards hope for the future,
•Sit again, if you wish, or simply depart.

You are invited to come as often as you wish during November.

When Advent begins (November 29) we will begin again – this time with the Advent words and scriptures of expectant waiting – Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. Each week we will focus on one of these themes and will have Evans Historic Chapel set for you to come again, this time pinning your words or paragraph to a fully-blossoming tree!

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”
(Lamentations 3:22-24)