Lament isn’t a word we hear used often. Other related words are more common: grief, mourning, sorrow, sadness. Human beings all experience profound sadness or loss that cause us to cry out in anguish. Entire communities also lament. Much of the Old Testament was written during a time of forced exile and we find many examples of laments in the Bible, such as when Jesus lamented the death of his friend Lazarus and the state of his people.
Jewish and Christian faith connect lament and hope. Through studying this practice, participants will learn how the laments in the Old Testament express raw emotion, but also confidence that God is listening and will eventually set things right. For Christians, Jesus’ death was not permanent. God raised him from the dead, showing that the forces of life ultimately prevail. While much of American culture does not encourage lament, there can be healing in lament. Having recognized its value, our faith ancestors developed and utilized the ritual of lament both in public worship and personal prayers. This unit focuses on four practices in the ritual of lament, including name wounds, weep and wail, remember the crucified one, and dance between lament and hope.
Adult Reflection Guide
The Adult Reflection Guide is a workbook or journal for adults that allows for self-guided study of the practice. This guide engages adults through study, reflection questions, space for writing or drawing, and suggestions for practicing the practice. Included in this piece is the foundational essay, which dives even deeper into the biblical scholarship of each practice. This piece works well for individual study or for small group study when combined with the Adult Leader’s Guide.
Featured in the Adult Reflection Guide:
- Name Wounds (Psalm 137:1–6; Lamentations 3:43–48)
- Weep and Wail (Luke 23:26–31)
- Remember the Crucified One (1 Corinthians 11:23–25)
- Dance Between Lament and Hope (Lamentations 5:19–22)
In addition to the material in the Adult Leader’s Guide and the Adult Reflection Guide, there are also free videos that leaders can use as conversation starters for the unit and each session. Visit our YouTube Channel, bit.ly/FMYouTubeGFR, to see the playlist for this unit.
Follow Me: Biblical Practices for Faithful Living is a thirty-six-unit curriculum based on practices Jesus did and taught us to do as faithful followers. Written for people of all ages who wish to live out their faith, this new curriculum examines where these practices are found in the Bible and how they have been used in Christian faith then and now.
To learn more about the curriculum and view a sample of each component, visit our Follow Me webpage or watch the Follow Me trailer on our YouTube channel.