A Post-Election Liturgy of Lament

   

Note:  Last night 30 of us gathered in South Central to grieve and lament the election of Donald Trump.  We lamented honestly and openly through conversation and the following "Liturgy of Lament."  I pray that God might use this liturgy in the lives of others to bring solace in the midst of deep lament.  Feel free to share and distribute.

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Jesus 4 Revolutionaries

“Liturgy of Lament”

November 12, 2016

 “Lament is where hope plays hide and go seek.”[1]

“Jesus understood that lament was the only true response of faith to the brokenness and fallenness of the world.  It provides the only trustworthy bridge to God across the deep seismic quaking of our lives.”[2]

Movement One--Lament

“They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals.  They trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed.”  Amos 2: 6-7

"Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.”  Exodus 23: 9

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.”  Matthew 23: 37-38.

“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.  They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.  ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.  Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.”  Jeremiah 6: 13-15

Lord Jesus, we lament the many injustices of this election.  We lament the way in which immigrants and the poor have been scapegoated for political gain.  We lament the deep fear which fills the immigrant, Muslim, Black, and LGBTQ communities in this moment.  We lament the way in which hateful politics have divided our nation and Your very Church.  Oh Lord, hear our prayer. 

Note Cards and Discussion:  How have the election results impacted you?

 Movement Two—Groaning

"For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."  Romans 8: 19-27.

Holy Spirit, together with creation itself, we groan deeply within because of the pain and suffering we see all around us.  We long to see the final redemption of the world—all that is wrong and broken in this world made right once and for all. 

 In this moment we are so overwhelmed with anger, grief and emotion because of this election that we do not even know how to pray.

 Thank You Holy Spirit that you intercede for us through wordless groans in accordance with the will of God.  We worship You in the midst of our uncertainty and despair. 

 Prayer

Movement Three—Christ is Our Hope and Example; The Beloved Community is Our Goal; Love and Nonviolence is Our Method

Christ our Hope

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12: 1-3

"Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise," says the LORD. "I will protect them from those who malign them." Psalm 12:5

“The cross is the eternal expression of the length to which God will go in order to restore broken community. The resurrection is a symbol of God's triumph over all the forces that seek to block community. The Holy Spirit is the continuing community creating reality that moves through history.”  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “An Experiment in Love.”

The Beloved Community

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”   Revelation 7: 9-10

 "26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  Galatians 3: 26-28

"16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."  2 Corinthians 5: 16-19.

“But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.”   MLK.  “Facing the Challenge of a New Age.”

 Nonviolence

"27 But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you."  Luke 6: 27-31.

“Another thing that we had to get over was the fact that the nonviolent resister does not seek to humiliate or defeat the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding. This was always a cry that we had to set before people that our aim is not to defeat the white community, not to humiliate the white community, but to win the friendship of all of the persons who had perpetrated this system in the past. The end of violence or the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community.”   MLK.

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,

begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.

Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.

Through violence you may murder the liar,

but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.

Through violence you may murder the hater,

but you do not murder hate.

In fact, violence merely increases hate.

So it goes.

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,

adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness:

only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  MLK.

Precious Jesus, we worship You.  We fix our eyes on You, the author and perfecter of our faith.  Through Your death and resurrection, You conquered sin, death, Satan, and all the injustice and racial division which pervades our world.  In You alone we find life.  You are our hope.

 We passionately pursue social justice.  Yet, we acknowledge that social justice is not an end in itself.  It is a necessary step towards the fulfillment of the Beloved Community of every tribe, language, people, and nation which You purchased on the Cross.   

 Help us to love our enemies as You taught us to do.  We confess it does not come natural to us.  We acknowledge that hate begets hate.  Fill us with Your love.  Remind us of Your forgiveness and grace towards us.  Flowing from this love, empower us to seek first Your Kingdom and Your justice. 

Communion

 Organizing

 

[1] My friend Nate Bacon shared this word to me from Guatemala.

[2] Michael Card.