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Midweek Lenten Worship - the Gift of Lament

"Lament" is the gift of giving voice to our anguish, pain or anger without the need to place blame or "fix" something. Many of the Old Testament Psalms are Psalms of Lament and they are given us for a reason. Psalms of Lament are given to us so that we, too, might find words for pains too deep to understand. 

How long O Lord?!

During the Season of Lent we are dedicating our midweek Lenten Services to Lament. We will be washed and healed by the beautiful music of Holden Evening Prayer, and we will be invited into a few minutes of silence for our own private lament about various experiences of brokenness in our shared corporate life.

Wednesday, February 28, 2023, will be the first of this year's midweek Lenten services. Soup will be served from 5:00-5:45 PM for those who wish to share a simple meal. Our service will be 6:00-6:30 PM and there will be the opportunity to share in an intergenerational service proact from 6:30-7:00 PM. Choir practice follows. This will be the pattern for all our Wednesday evenings.

For this first Wednesday we will focus on the pain of Public Incivility. As a focus for our lament we will read 

Psalm 6 - A Psalm of David. (NRSV) It reads as follows:

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your wrath.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
    O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.

My soul also is struck with terror,
    while you, O Lord—how long?

Turn, O Lord, save my life;
    deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.

For in death there is no remembrance of you;
    in Sheol who can give you praise?

I am weary with my moaning;
    every night I flood my bed with tears;
    I drench my couch with my weeping.

My eyes waste away because of grief;
    they grow weak because of all my foes.

Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
    for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.

The Lord has heard my supplication;
    the Lord accepts my prayer.

All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror;
    they shall turn back and in a moment be put to shame. 

A part of my personal Lenten discipline will be to rewrite these Psalms in my own words as I prepare to be in silence and prayer with you. Here's how Psalm 6 came together for me.

Psalm 6 - a paraphrase by Dave Brauer-Rieke

There is so much anger and poison in the world now, Lord.
Even though you are right to be angry with me,
    please don't be.
    I cannot endure any more.

I need to be held, to feel safe, to let body and soul release their tension.
I am fearful. I feel exposed and at risk.
    There is no place I find peace.
    Lord, why don't you fix this?

When people lie and fight you are not honored.
Those who are dead cannot give you praise.
    At night my pillow is wet with tears.
    In the morning I cannot see because of all my crying.

I believe, God, that you hear me.
I believe that the sound of my weeping echoes you own.
    Get away from me all of you who fight all the time.
    God is listening!

Yes, God is listening.
Yes, God accepts my prayers and hears my cry.
    The day will come when your shame will collapse in upon you.
    The day will come when civility will once again live in our land.

Until Wednesday. May the Lord bless us.

Pr. Dave Brauer-Rieke

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