The Rev. Becky Gettel reflects on the Bible’s Laments and Psalms at Wicked Local Concord (MA):
The human condition is painful. I was recently at a workshop where I was asked to write down my prayers and my laments on two different pieces of paper. As I wrote my prayers, they seemed to me to be like bubbles blown through a plastic wand into the blue sky; thanks for this day God, thank you for all you have done for me, for the safety in which my children live, for the beauty of your creation, for all that is good and true and blessed, please be with my family, protect the poor, heal the sick, help me to feel your presence.
Writing my laments was very different. My laments felt like hardballs thrown right into the core of the universe; baseballs packed with anger and grief. I threw a ball packed with my rage about child abuse, my hatred towards all acts of violence and violation that hurt children. I threw my grief about each moment of human suffering that I see in my life and work. I threw my confusion about the state of my broken world. I threw my hands in the air feeling helpless in the face of toxins in our water, poison in our air, and the depletion of our earth. I threw images of falling towers and bleeding marathon runners and babies in war-zones or violent homes. I threw pain and fear at thundering tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes. These were not bubbles, these were hardballs thrown with the intention of stinging the hand that caught them.
Gettel asks: “But what would happen if we recognize our raging laments and hurl them at God, the only one capable of catching them and holding them in love and safety?”
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