the twin sisters of the psalms

2 . November . 2012

my opening notes for
west side women
bible study this morning,

‘The first language of the church in a
deeply broken world is not strategy, but prayer.

‘We are called to learn the anguished cry of lament.

‘Lament is the cry of Martin Luther King Jr from his
kitchen table in Montgomery after hearing yet another death threat,
“Lord I’m down here trying to do what is right…But Lord
I must confess that I’m weak now, I’m faltering, I’m losing my courage.
Now I am afraid. I’m at the end of my powers. I have nothing left.
I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone’

‘It wasn’t a cry of isolation but rather a tradition King
had learned from generations of African American families
who were literally torn apart by slavery. The cry of lament had
been passed down to him in the music of the Christian spiritual,

‘sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way from home.
sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone, a long way form home.’

‘Lament is the cry of the psalmist of Israel in exile who,
feeling abandoned by God, demanded, ‘Where are you Lord?’
or the psalmists who were bothered by God’s remarkably bad sense of timing,
‘Why are you taking so long? The poor are being crushed.
The wicked are winning. Don’t you see it?”

‘The twin sisters of Psalms are prayers of praise and lament.
They are always walking hand in hand,
sometimes singing, sometimes crying.

‘Lament is not despair, it is not whining. It is a cry into a void.
Lament is a cry directed to God. It is the cry of those who week
the truth of the world’s deep wounds and the cost of seeking peace.
It is the prayer of those who are deeply disturbed by the way things are.
We are enjoined to learn and see and feel what the psalmists see and feel
and to join our prayers with theirs.

‘The journey of reconciliation is grounded in the practice of lament.’

-Emmanuel Katongole & Chris Rice, reconciling all things

so grateful for the women gathered
and the prayers & candor shared.

to God be the glory.

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