Services of Lament at Grace
This fall and winter Grace will be offering a new type of service focused on lament. Read below to find out more about what a service of lament looks like. Our hope is to offer these about once a month between Thanksgiving and Easter. All are welcome to join us, to invite others and to offer feedback as we develop these services.
What is a lament service?
This is a time to reflect, become aware of God's presence, how He is working in us, bring our pain to God, and invite Him to begin (and continue) healing us. It is a process for trusting God with our pain instead of turning to other, inferior ways of coping. Unlike individual lamenting, a Service of Lament is a time for a congregation to cry out together to God and trust Him, together, broken as we all are. This is a time to stand together, both those feeling broken, and those who are sensitive to others' pain. We want to encourage our brothers and sisters with our presence especially when life is hard. Which is often. The Service of Lament will occur monthly until Easter 2023.
What will we do? What should I expect?
The best advice is to come with no expectations, open to just experience the service and meet with God. We will read scripture together, pray, hear dramatic readings, experience visual arts, solo and congregational music, and a symbolic way of surrendering our pain to Jesus. If you’d like to learn more about the upcoming service (songs, scriptures, drama, resources, etc.) send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the regular Lament emails. (There is no sermon.)
What if I am not particularly sad about something? Should I still come?
You don’t need to be feeling sad right now to participate and lament alongside your friends and neighbors, to encourage and pray with those who are lamenting. This is how we carry each other’s burdens, bearing with one another, as the Bible encourages us.
Who is the service for? (Or: Who should I invite?)
If you’ve ever wondered, 'HOW do I trust God with this difficult thing I’m going through?’ If you have a burden for those in pain and want to encourage them with your
presence. If you’ve been ignoring your sadness, grief, or anxiety or other 'negative’ feelings If you would like to receive prayer or pray with someone If you’re dreading the upcoming holidays without those loved ones you’ve lost this last year. If you’re dreading the upcoming holidays because of broken or strained relationships. If you’ve been putting off praying about something hard. If you recently experienced loss and haven’t had time to process it (enough) yet. If you have experienced loss a while ago, but still don’t feel peace
If you think you’d benefit from a time of introspection and prayer or just a good solid cry. If you feel isolated in your pain
Why is lamenting important?
Lament is a model God gives us to deal with the bad stuff that happens in life. The Bible depicts many lamenters (think: Hannah, Job, David, Jeremiah and other prophets, and Jesus!) and even God laments through His prophets. It is normal to feel pain and to bring it to God. He wants us to seek Him in our pain. Feeling down is not a sin, nor does it indicate a lack of faith.
The Bible tells us there is a time to be happy as well as times to weep and mourn. These 'times’ are out of proportion in our American culture that encourages us to only show the happy, not the weeping. Sometimes we focus so much on being happy people (especially on Sundays), that we try to skip over any sad or angry or grieving emotions we may feel. We don’t allow time to feel negative emotions.
Lamenting is how we trust God with our pain. It is how we trust God with others’ pain. Lamenting is deeply human.
How long is the lament service?
What should I wear?
Wear something comfortable. There is no expectation you dress up or wear all black. Wear what is easy. If you wear mascara, we recommend waterproof.
What should I bring?
Nothing. The emptier your hands, the better.
Is this appropriate for all ages?
While there is nothing inappropriate, the service may be most appreciated by those ages 12 and up.
Is there childcare?
There is childcare provided on site for kids. Adults caring for children have all clearances as required in Pennsylvania.
How can I help or get involved?
Contact Dani Sauvé or Sue Bickel through the church office at email@example.com
What People are Saying
"Sometimes my body feels like a graveyard."
"It was probably the most powerful service I've ever experienced."
"I would feel more comfortable inviting people to this than to Sunday."
"Beautiful, Absolutely Beautiful!!"
"I see unity in this in the church."
"I'm not an expert in lamenting."
"I would tell people not to expect anything, just come and experience it."
"...I felt a connection to a sacred time to honor the lament I carry in my heart...how can I enter into peace and rest on the Sabbath when my heart is so full of unresolved loss?...it feels like an essential part of what church needs to be for the collective and individual suffering of the Bride of Christ."
"I felt more free to express the praise part of the service on Sunday, having just lamented."
"The smaller and more vulnerable space of Lament service provides a unique interaction."
"I am excited to see what God has in store for Grace as we learn to create a space for Biblical Lament."