August 26, Service of Lament
Trinity Lutheran Church
Facebook Live worship Sundays at 10 am
Find a recording of this service on our YouTube channel
More information at http://www.nampatrinity.org
Prelude: Singing Bowl
Opening: Lamentations 3:1-24
3I am one who has seen affliction
under the rod of God’s wrath;
2 he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
3 against me alone he turns his hand,
again and again, all day long.
4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away,
and broken my bones;
5 he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
6 he has made me sit in darkness
like the dead of long ago.
7 He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has put heavy chains on me;
8 though I call and cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer;
9 he has blocked my ways with hewn stones,
he has made my paths crooked.
10 He is a bear lying in wait for me,
a lion in hiding;
11 he led me off my way and tore me to pieces;
he has made me desolate;
12 he bent his bow and set me
as a mark for his arrow.
13 He shot into my vitals
the arrows of his quiver;
14 I have become the laughing-stock of all my people,
the object of their taunt-songs all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitterness,
he has glutted me with wormwood.
16 He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
17 my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
18 so I say, ‘Gone is my glory,
and all that I had hoped for from the Lord.’
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.’
The COVID-19 Pandemic altered our lives in March. Over 300 people in Idaho have died, over 800,000 globally. Those of us who have not died have lost so many parts of our normal lives, including worshiping together…. So this evening, we gather together to lament.
One definition of the word lament is “crying out to God that things are not supposed to be this way!” In the Bible, lament was a communal activity. People of faith stood together, supported each other in their sorrow, helping each other put words to what they felt.
Examples in scripture are found in:
Psalms of lament
Job asking, “Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?”
Prophets like Habakkuk crying, “my legs tremble beneath me. I await the day of distress that will come upon the people who attack us”
Hagar in the wilderness with son Ishmael cries and says, “I cannot watch the boy die.”
Jesus quoting Psalm 22 from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”
Following scripture as our guide, our worship service this evening will be a time for prayer and lament.
1As the deer longs | for the water-brooks, so longs my soul for you, O God.
2I thirst for God, for the living God; when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?
3My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long they say to me, “Where now is your God?”
4I pour out my soul when I think on these things; how I went with the multitude and led them into the house of God, with shouts of thanksgiving, among those keeping festival.
5Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, and why are you so disquieted within me? Put your trust in God, for I will yet give thanks to the one who is my help | and my God.
6My soul is heavy within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan, and from the peak of Mizar among the | heights of Hermon.
7One deep calls to another in the roar of your cascades; all your rapids and floods have gone over me.
8The Lord grants lovingkindness in the daytime; in the night season the Lord’s song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
9I will say to the God of my strength, “Why have you rejected me, and why do I wander in such gloom while the enemy oppresses me?”
10While my bones are being broken, my enemies mock me to my face; all day long they mock me and say to me, “Where now is your God?”
11Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, and why are you so disquieted within me? Put your trust in God, for I will yet give thanks to the one who is my help and my God.
Read responsively the hymn, O God of Love, O King of Peace (ELW 749)
1 O God of love, O King of peace, make wars throughout the world to cease;
our greed and sinful wrath restrain. Give peace, O God, give peace again.
2 Remember, Lord, your works of old, the wonders that our elders told;
remember not our sins’ deep stain. Give peace, O God, give peace again.
3 Whom shall we trust but you, O Lord? Where rest but on your faithful word?
None ever called on you in vain. Give peace, O God, give peace again.
4 Where saints and angels dwell above all hearts are knit in holy love;
oh, bind us in that heav’nly chain. Give peace, O God, give peace again.
Text: Henry W. Baker, 1821-1877
1By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, when we remembered you, O Zion.
2As for our harps, we hung them up on the trees in the midst of that land.
3For those who led us away captive asked us for a song, and our oppressors | called for mirth: “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
4How shall we sing the Lord’s song upon an alien soil?
5If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.
6Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.
7Remember the day of Jerusalem, O Lord, against the people of Edom, who said, “Down with it! down with it! even to the ground!”
8O daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy shall they be who pay you back for what you have done to us!
18 My joy is gone, grief is upon me,
my heart is sick.
19 Hark, the cry of my poor people
from far and wide in the land:
‘Is the Lord not in Zion?
Is her King not in her?’
(‘Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,
with their foreign idols?’)
20 ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved.’
21 For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of my poor people
not been restored?
9O that my head were a spring of water,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
so that I might weep day and night
for the slain of my poor people!
Our Laments and Prayers (where we read how worshipers completed the following prompts before worship)
Led by Penelope, Mary, Tami, and Pastor Meggan.
God, I don’t understand
God, please fix
God, I trust you with my future even if
God, I will praise you, even if
1O Lord, I call to you; come | to me quickly; hear my voice when I | cry to you.
2Let my prayer rise before | you as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the | evening sacrifice.
Burning of Laments and Prayers
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom,and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
The God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus. Amen.
The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The God of all grace ☩ bless you now and forever. Amen.
With thanks to the Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth for the outline and the Pivot podcast for the lament prompts.