A Community of Lament

On Thursday as people gathered in Baton Rouge to pray, I entered our small prayer room and lit a candle. The candle could barely hold a flame and so I sat in the dark, facing a small dot of light.

As I literally sat in darkness I thought about the lament psalms. These are the Psalms you go to when you are distressed. You pray these when you feel surrounded by darkness, are down and out, or are outraged by the injustice of the world you find yourself in.

I prayed for Alton Sterling, his family and friends and the Baton Rouge Police Department. I prayed for those who gathered in Baton Rouge to pray. I was also quite angry about hearing of another shooting in Minnesota. I cried for the loss of life and injustice, and clenched my fists in response to the fear and anger I saw in the world.

The grief weighed heavy and I found myself asking “Why?” and “How long?” I was tired of hearing and seeing this awfulness in the world and demanded to see the good.

“Where are you?” I cried.

In the silence, I sat in the dark, still facing a small dot of light.

There are Psalms of lament for individuals and there are Psalms of lament for the community. After a heartbreaking week, I am ready to lament with my community. iPsalms continues with lament this Sunday at 11:00 in The River Contemporary Service. All are invited to join Broadmoor Youth this Sunday evening at 6:15 in the basement for a Kyrie Eleison service of lament. Until then, Grace and peace.

Rev. Peter Gaughan