Learning Lament: The Grammar Of Grief - #ec2dot04

Learning Lament: The Grammar Of Grief - #ec2dot04

Welcome back to season 2, episode 4 of Another Empty Conversation.

Today we are continuing our discussion on Learning Lament: Faith and Sadness of Biblical proportions. On this episode, we are calling on the Grammar Nerds and looking at some of the linguistics of the book of Lamentations.

Don’t worry, we won’t be diagraming sentences or parsing verbs, but we are going to look at the way Jeremiah structured the 5 chapters of his lament filled letter while looking for some clues to help us through times of grief and mourning.

If you had listened to our introductory episode “Preparing Lament” you will remember that Jeremiah used the literary device of forming an acrostic from the Hebrew alphabet. While this is something difficult to pick up on reading English translations, the Israelites would have immediately picked up on it.

What are some of the reasons why Jeremiah might have chosen to use this method?

Was he using a memory aid to help the people remember what he said? Or could it be that he was trying to subtly bring about some structure in the midst of all chaos?

Don’t worry, I promise you this discussion will be more exciting than your High School English class…unless you are into all those participles and tenses. Then you will feel right at home!

So before I get into any more trouble with Mrs. Comfort let’s get to this week’s focus 5.

This Week's Focus 5:

  1. Acrostics are popular memory devices. Do you remember any acrostics from school?
  2. If Jeremiah chose to use acrostics as memory devices then he would intend his audience to remember some of the toughest moments of their life. Our culture wants to forget painful moments ASAP. What are the positives and negatives of remembering painful moments in our lives?
  3. Others view Jeremiah’s use of acrostics as a way to subtly implement order in chaos and to provide boundaries and guidelines where the truth of a situation can be expressed. Of these two options, which do you think is more accurate?
  4. One view of the acrostic method is that Jeremiah intended to remind the people of their journey of sin, judgment, repentance, and eventual restoration. There was beginning (Aleph) and there will be an end (Tav). How would this view be beneficial for Christians today?
  5. Is there a way that we could implement a structure to help us get through our own tough times? What might it look like?

Closing Quote:

Lament presents the possibility of an order ordained by God in the midst of a somber reality...The presence of the Church can serve as an expression of security that God is in charge of the cosmic order beyond the turbulence of reality.
— Soong-Chan Rah, Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times
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