9.22.19 - The Case for Lament (Kenny Camacho; Story by Robbert Olson)
SCRIPTURE: Job (overview); Hebrews 4:14-16
Lament matters. By focusing so often on the excitement of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead and the promises of perfection and completion that are central to the Christian life, the church often overlooks this truth. But our hope is not a hope in spite of suffering...it is hope in the midst of it. So, how can we live more responsibly in a broken world? Part of the answer is by remembering the ancient practices of sitting in grief alongside one another and refusing the temptation to ‘square the circle’ of pain or injustice. We do this by maintaining presence with those who are hurting, rejecting the urge to censor anger and doubt, and trusting God to bring hope in his own time. Lament can transform us from people pointing towards hope into people living it out by embodying God’s patience, understanding, and love.
What have your experiences been with grief in a Christian/church context?
In the story of Job, Job’s friends spend 7 days “sitting shiva” with him before they speak. During that time, they quietly keep him company. What are your thoughts on this ancient practice? How might it be helpful for a person in grief?
After “sitting shiva,” Job’s friends begin trying to do what Kenny referred to as “squaring the circle”: they try to explain how Job’s suffering is just (he is being punished for sin) and tolerable (he can and should move past it). Why do you think they do this? Have you ever had a similar experience, either trying to rationalize with someone grieving or having someone try to rationalize with you in the midst of grief?
After Job cries out to God, God replies to him...but God never answers Job’s question. Instead, he reminds Job of his cosmic authority and perspective (“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?”). How is God’s response different than the responses of Job’s friends? Is it comforting?
On Sunday, Kenny said that Jesus’s resurrection provides real evidence for more to a human being’s life than just their years on Earth. He also said this is the key to lamenting well. How does our hope in eternal life equip us to grieve well with people?