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This past Sunday i attended church at a non-denominational church that is near the university I attend. I have attended the church several times before and like the feel of it better than the CRC church I attend at home. My home church has like 2,000 people that attend and this smaller church has only about 40 people. I guess that I have some hard feelings towards the CRC denomination because of the hypocrisy that I saw. (I believe I discussed it in this post http://poetrybyemmyr.blogspot.com/2008/11/my-spiritual-journey.html but if i didn't, or you have any questions, comment on this blog and let me know and i can explain it further)
Anyways, I attended this church with a friend and after we stayed for a bible study thing for college students. (there was a free lunch involved...:) ) We (there were 5 of us including the 2 leaders...) discussed Lamentations 2 (I guess they had discussed Lamentations 1 the previous meeting.) First the main leader asked what we thought "lament" meant. I said I thought it meant a deep sadness, frustration, grief, anger and several other words along those lines. He told me that that was a pretty good definition of what lament was. We then discussed the role of the church in lament. It was quiet for a while and then the other leader piped up and said that the church should, ideally, be there for those who are lamenting and they should support them through the hard times. She also said that people often don't speak of their laments, especially to the church, because they feel ashamed and guilty about their lament and they also fear the judgment that they believe the church will bring. We also discussed how the anger and frustration we feel when lamenting, and also the lament shown in the passage, are often expressed through our anger at God. This is another reason we feel we cannot express our lament to the church.
As we discussed this I was freaking out! The whole concept of lament, which I had previously known about but barely understood, describes exactly what I have been going through for the past few years. I have been so frustrated and angry because of the things that have happened in my life. (Originally I did not allow myself to be angry at God and instead became angry at myself which started my self-harm.) I still don't understand completely this whole concept yet but I am just interested in the idea. Maybe my anger at myself and also God is actually ok. Maybe I am not a horrible person because of my anger. The person who wrote lamentations poured out their anger and frustration towards God and expressed how they were feeling. Maybe I need to express my own frustration and anger and I need to tell someone about my own struggle with God. This scares me hugely, because I am so afraid of being judged for the feelings that I have had/am still having.
Below is the passage from Lamentations that we read. We read it in a different translation but this should make the same points...this is copied and pasted from bible.com
The Message (MSG)
God Walked Away from His Holy Temple
1 Oh, oh, oh...
How the Master has cut down Daughter Zion
from the skies, dashed Israel's glorious city to earth,
in his anger treated his favorite as throwaway junk.
2The Master, without a second thought, took Israel in one gulp.
Raging, he smashed Judah's defenses,
made hash of her king and princes.
3His anger blazing, he knocked Israel flat,
broke Israel's arm and turned his back just as the enemy approached,
came on Jacob like a wildfire from every direction.
4Like an enemy, he aimed his bow, bared his sword,
and killed our young men, our pride and joy.
His anger, like fire, burned down the homes in Zion.
5The Master became the enemy. He had Israel for supper.
He chewed up and spit out all the defenses.
He left Daughter Judah moaning and groaning.
6He plowed up his old trysting place, trashed his favorite rendezvous.
God wiped out Zion's memories of feast days and Sabbaths,
angrily sacked king and priest alike.
7God abandoned his altar, walked away from his holy Temple
and turned the fortifications over to the enemy.
As they cheered in God's Temple, you'd have thought it was a feast day!
8God drew up plans to tear down the walls of Daughter Zion.
He assembled his crew, set to work and went at it.
Total demolition! The stones wept!
9Her city gates, iron bars and all, disappeared in the rubble:
her kings and princes off to exile—no one left to instruct or lead;
her prophets useless—they neither saw nor heard anything from God.
10The elders of Daughter Zion sit silent on the ground.
They throw dust on their heads, dress in rough penitential burlap—
the young virgins of Jerusalem, their faces creased with the dirt.
11My eyes are blind with tears, my stomach in a knot.
My insides have turned to jelly over my people's fate.
Babies and children are fainting all over the place,
12Calling to their mothers, "I'm hungry! I'm thirsty!"
then fainting like dying soldiers in the streets,
breathing their last in their mothers' laps.
13How can I understand your plight, dear Jerusalem?
What can I say to give you comfort, dear Zion?
Who can put you together again? This bust-up is past understanding.
14Your prophets courted you with sweet talk.
They didn't face you with your sin so that you could repent.
Their sermons were all wishful thinking, deceptive illusions.
15Astonished, passersby can't believe what they see.
They rub their eyes, they shake their heads over Jerusalem.
Is this the city voted "Most Beautiful" and "Best Place to Live"?
16But now your enemies gape, slack-jawed.
Then they rub their hands in glee: "We've got them!
We've been waiting for this! Here it is!"
17God did carry out, item by item, exactly what he said he'd do.
He always said he'd do this. Now he's done it—torn the place down.
He's let your enemies walk all over you, declared them world champions!
18Give out heart-cries to the Master, dear repentant Zion.
Let the tears roll like a river, day and night,
and keep at it—no time-outs. Keep those tears flowing!
19As each night watch begins, get up and cry out in prayer.
Pour your heart out face-to-face with the Master.
Lift high your hands. Beg for the lives of your children
who are starving to death out on the streets.
20"Look at us, God. Think it over. Have you ever treated anyone like this?
Should women eat their own babies, the very children they raised?
Should priests and prophets be murdered in the Master's own Sanctuary?
21"Boys and old men lie in the gutters of the streets,
my young men and women killed in their prime.
Angry, you killed them in cold blood, cut them down without mercy.
22"You invited, like friends to a party, men to swoop down in attack
so that on the big day of God's wrath no one would get away.
The children I loved and reared—gone, gone, gone."