Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving but no Lament

So, I wanted to wait until I had a chance to send this comment to my church before I posted it here. Our thanksgiving service was amazing with encouragement and conviction to live a life saturated with thanksgiving and not entitlement. However, in the middle of the worship there was a skit about two women who had gone through difficult times that year. Each had lost a job, lost their father, and broke up with a boyfriend. One was still able to see God throughout the entire process, offering thanks no matter what. The other one was still angry, frustrated, and saw nothing to be thankful for. The part that concerns me is the way the church answered the one who was still angry. Inbetween her rant and raves, we would sing another verse, sugar coating the whole thing. She left without ever being addressed or heard. I am sad that people in that service might think her feelings and responses were invalid. We honored the one who could give thanks no matter what, but we ignored the validity of the one who was going through lament and pain. Neither response is better than the other, and they are just as appropriate within the body of Christ. We didn't offer to weep with the woman, we just sang songs to her. Basically, this highlighted what I find most frustrating about church sometimes...the fact that we do thanksgiving really well, but we don't handle grief or lament at all. I understand that there is only so much we can do in a large worship setting, but we can at least model and encourage proper lament. Hopefully, there would be a smaller group of people in this woman's life who could just sit and listen to her. I just hope no one left that service, who was in pain, thinking that their feelings or questions were not valued. I look forward to seeing the response I get from staff.

2 comments:

nick-o said...

I agree with you, Kevin. More Ecclesiastes-like stories and reality need to be soaked up by the church/church-leaders. Were you in that class with me - with Rob Johnston: Theo & Film - or Theo & Contemporary Culture?

Also, I recommend you check out Citizen Cope, if you haven't already. Joseph Arthur, as well. Two of my favorite musicians. Later

nick

Kevin Lewis said...

I have not checked out Citizen Cope; I will now. And, I don't think we did Johnston's class together, we did Barry's on Theology, Pop Culture, and the Emerging Church.