This week's virtue, One Day of Lament, may seem weirdly out of place after last week's encouragement to go One Day Without Complaint. To some, lament is not seen as a virtue at all. But did you know there is a whole book of the bible dedicated to lament, or that there are probably as many Psalms of lament than any other type of Psalm, or that every OT prophetic book except Haggai includes lament, or that all the major characters in scripture practice it?
I will readily admit that most of us don't go looking to lament. We turn to lament because there are times when life and faith necessitate that we cry out, confess, and address our hurt, our anger, our confusion, our questions to God, and join others who do. Lament is not an act of lesser faith, it is, as Walter Brueggemann writes, "an act of bold faith...because it insists that the world must be experienced as it really is and not in some pretended way. It is bold because it insists that all such experiences of disorder are a proper subject for discourse with God. To withhold parts of life from the conversation is in fact to withhold parts of life from the sovereignty of God."
So here is our One Day of Lament challenge this week. 1) Allow the Spirit to convict you of sins for which you should feel sorrow and remorse. Receive Christ's forgiveness, but also seek his transformation. 2) Spend a little time in prayer in which two words are present: "Although" and "Yet." After "although," be honest about the ways that your life, your friends, our community, and our world are struggling. Then transition to "yet," in which you make declarations of faith, not in denial of the struggles, but in the face of them. 3) Reach out to a friend who is struggling. Give them a call. Set up a lunch. Send a note. We are called to be people who mourn with those who mourn. We will all occasionally lament, but we need not do it alone.