Lament Songs: We Need More

We need more lament songs.

I was reminded of of this while studying Amos 8:9.  The prophet offers the most chilling metaphor for lament imaginable for an ancient Israelite:  “I will make it like the mourning of an only son.”

Children killed in their schools, on the streets of a sporting event, by abuse at home, by terminal diseases, and by tragic accidents. And there is much more than that to lament.

There is so much to lament, and we need more lament songs. Our assemblies, devotions, and private prayers should voice lament just as ancient Israel did (almost half of the Psalms are lament).

I am grateful that my good friends Konstantin Zhigulin, a Russian believer in St. Petersberg (Russia), and Jeff Matteson (a citizen of the United States) have produced a “Lament For the Innocents.” Konstantin leads and Jeff sings in a group called Psalom (Facebook page).  Click on the link and listen to the beautiful tones and words (taken from Biblical texts of lament and hope).

We need lament to voice our anger, bewilderment, misgivings, doubt…and, yes, even praise and hope.  Lament is spiritual therapy by which we process our grief and hurt as we sit on God’s lap…even as we protest, yell, and accuse.  God listens and responds.

At the same time, there is so much for which to be grateful. We are blessed more than we could ever realize or grasp.

So, we give thanks and we lament. That is the life of faith.

5 Responses to “Lament Songs: We Need More”

  1.   K. Rex Butts Says:

    Yes we do! I appreciate all the songs of praise and thanksgiving but there are times when lament is the only faith response we have. And given the percentage of lament in Psalms, we might raise question about the way faith is conceived in contemporary Christianity when there is very little songs of lament written in comparison to songs of praise and thanksgiving. Thanks for this blog.

    Grace and Peace,


  2.   normansupdate Says:

    Thank you for posting this. Learning to do this is not as difficult as making a 90 degree turn at 100 miles an hour, but it is not an easy thing, and probably cannot be successfully down without making some mistakes in the process, but we’ve got to learn how to do it.

  3.   Vanessa Maleare Says:

    I remember you talking about this in the Psalms class that I took from you during my time at Lipscomb. I cannot tell you how much this wisdom has helped me and others in my ministry. When a young mother was suffering from depression, when a family lost thier 18 mo old girl, when our friends lost thier 7 yr old son…I was able to lament and help them lament. This stuck with me.

  4.   Michael Summers Says:

    I mentioned your call for more laments while teaching Psalm 130 as part of a Songs of Ascent series at Highland in Cordova last night. As another article I read recently suggested, lament in prayer and song is a genre that went underground in Judaism and even more so in Christianity but that has emerged once more in recent years.

  5.   Mark Says:

    Then would someone care to tell me why on the Sunday after these tragedies, there is only a brief mention of the tragedy to the congregation and then the standard service. These events are testing a lot of people’s faith.

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