A Series of Laments by Julie Clark

A Series of Laments, First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas

Memorial at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas

I am writing a series of laments. As a white evangelical Christian, I did not learn to lament in my religious or cultural background. This lack of lament is probably due to the fact that my ancestors and I, as part of the dominant culture, have not suffered the injustice, oppression or violence as have many of my neighbors of color. In the last few years, I have been introduced to this specific form of prayer. It is connected closely with confession and repentance. We are living in an extremely violent society, in an extremely violent world. We are reeling from one tragic event to another.

As a follower of Jesus, I have learned from his teachings the law of sowing and reaping. What is planted is what grows. With this principle in mind, I wonder what it will take to root out the violence in our society and in our world. Large trees with long roots started as small seeds. What seeds have been planted in our history that continues to bloom into violence? I believe a collective lament, confession, and repentance is necessary for lasting change to occur. The path to healing in our communities must go through this path of self-reflection and acknowledgment leading to lament, confession and repentance.

I invite you to join me in this journey of overturning the soil in our hearts in the hope of producing the good fruits of love and peace in our world.

Laments can be spoken, chanted or sung together in a group or alone.  The bold letter words are for those who wish to pray together in a group.

This first lament is in response to the recent Texas church shooting.

 

#1 Lament for violence in our land:

Oh God, hear our prayers!

 

Today children are grieving.

They have lost their parents or grandparents.

Oh Lord, hear their cries.

 

Today parents and grandparents are grieving.

They have lost their children and grandchildren.

Oh Lord, hear their cries.

 

Today brothers and sisters are grieving.

They have lost their siblings.

Oh Lord, hear their cries.

 

Today neighbors and friends are grieving.

They have lost their neighbors and friends.

Oh Lord, hear their cries.

 

We have done wrong against you

And our fellow human beings

Made in your image.

We have not loved our neighbors

As ourselves.

 

We have loved our power

More than our neighbors.

Lord, have mercy.

 

We have loved our comfort

More than our neighbors.

Lord, have mercy.

 

We have loved our privilege

More than our neighbors.

Lord, have mercy.

 

We have loved our safety

More than our neighbors.

Lord, have mercy.

 

We have loved our weapons

More than our neighbors.

Lord, have mercy.

 

Lord have mercy

And forgive us these things

We pray.

Show us how to walk out

Our repentance towards you

And our neighbors.

Amen
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