Learning Lament: Lament And Praise - #ec2dot02
The time has arrived for Another Empty Conversation - a show that lets you eavesdrop on a conversation about faith and following Jesus. We talk about our faith so you can talk about yours.
Welcome back to season 2, episode 2 of Another Empty Conversation.
Today we are continuing our discussion on Learning Lament: Faith and Sadness of Biblical Proportions. And we turn our attention church worship.
We gather together with fellow Christians and we sing songs of praise and celebration. The Israelites did this too. Our songs are projected on screens with millions of pixels and their songs were written down on scrolls. But there is one more key difference between church music today and in the Old Testament: the topics we sing about.
Claus Westerman says that all of Hebrew poetry is made up of two categories: praise and lament. They are the “two poles that determine the nature of all speaking to God.”
Lament and Praise are equal expressions of worship. Songs of lament are strangely lacking in our church services, while praise-centric songs make up the majority of songs selected by church music leaders.
These insights will guide our discussion today as will our Focus 5 Questions of the week.
This Week's Focus 5:
- What is the difference between a song of lament (like Lamentations 1 or Psalm 142) and a song of praise?
- 40% of the Jewish song book (Psalms) is lament oriented. Of the most popular modern hymnals around 12% are lament oriented. Why do you think there is such a discrepancy?
- What role do the songs we sing in church play in our every day lives?
- Are songs of praise more important than songs of lament? Why or why not?
- How does the absence of lament songs isolate the Church from the reality of the world outside its doors?
When we forget agony and communal lament we lose a big part of our faith. We tend to view Christianity as maintaining a religious status quo instead of being on a journey toward the full realization of the kingdom of God when Christ returns.
Another loss that accompanies limited lament is limited empathy. We no longer are able to identify with those who are oppresses, hurting, and in despair. This is why so many Christians can look at a mother who just lost her child in an event of police brutality and tell her child was a hoodlum who deserved what happened.
Oh God, what have we become.