The Language of Lament

by Jessica Galván

To my brothers and sisters in Christ,

It is Sunday morning. The sun rose again today to the sounds of the brokenhearted. I honestly don’t know why the evil of racism in our country keeps prevailing. I’m not going to fully pretend like I know why so much pain is happening. I’ve read countless books; I’ve listened to many voices; I continue to do the internal work in my heart day after day and lovingly challenge the people around me, but that still does not subdue the cry of my soul to see a miracle of complete healing and justice.

The lens in which I see the world is composed of fragmented glass.

I was born in America. I am a college educated daughter and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants. My children and I have a brown complexion with dark hair and eyes like our ancestors before us. I am a Christian woman of color who has unfortunately been impacted by racism. As a full believer in the power of Christ to heal and bring peace, I know that my past experiences of prejudice and discrimination help me understand some of the pain racism inflicts. However, my experience is nowhere near the plight of my black brothers and sisters. I must acknowledge that there is a difference.

In order to be the light, we must first  recognize the darkness that surrounds us.

We need to understand and feel the anguish of the black community. We can not properly do that without joining in the passionate wailing of sorrow and grief they have endured for generations. Their pain is our pain. We all suffer if any part of the body of Christ is harmed or unable to function the way God intended.

We need to unite in one language of lament.

“For centuries lament has been the minor-key voice of people in pain. It is the language of loss that should be prayed together. While lament can be applied to moments of individual loss, its redemptive power is multiplied as we pursue it together. Whether it is expressed in a funeral, modeled in a sermon, prayed or sung in a worship service, applied in a small group, or voiced in the middle of racial tension, lamenting together is an essential ministry of the body of Christ.” - Mark Vroegop, College Park Church

This is the what we need to do first and foremost because it is what God does for us. Psalm 10:17 says, “Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them”. God hears the brokenhearted. Instead of inserting our worldly views or placing blame, we must first stop and listen to those being attacked. We have to be mirrors of God’s hope and comfort in the midst of pain. As a church, Christ implores us to carry out his decrees of compassion and genuine love for all while mourning with those who suffer.

In a time when we can’t hold hands physically, we can unite through love and compassion.

For this reason, I yearn to be physically together with my family in Christ more than ever. I long to hold my black and brown and white brothers and sisters through the racial pandemic while in the midst of a viral one. I want to genuinely lament with them. I want to ask, “How can I serve you? How can I join you in your troubles?

Suffering insurmountable loss together while in the context of the coronavirus is a hard one to navigate. The struggle to keep a light shining in such darkness is feeling extra burdensome but we need to remain diligent in serving the afflicted.

We cannot let the hopelessness of the world overtake the hope that God provides.

This can only be done with our feet fully planted and our hearts cemented in the word of God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 

Let us make a conscious choice to lament with our black brothers and sisters as we gather separately in our homes to worship. Today, we implore the Lord to show us how to truly be one whole body and ministers of the miraculous for all of His people.


Additional Resources

How to Grieve Racial Violence through Lament by Mark Vroegop

Lament is throughout the Bible. Take a moment to read and reflect on Psalm 130 and let it guide your prayer and thoughts today.