I just finished preaching through the book of Galatians. What a joy, and, what a conviction that book gave me! The freedom and grace we have, being united to Christ through faith, is, at the very least, a call to life-expansive love, service, and joy! Thank You God, for letting me preach through that wonderful book.
I wanted to give anyone reading this, an invite to come hear my series on the Old Testament book of Lamentations. I will begin this series on March 3rd, alternating with Pastor Bob Funk every two weeks, as he continues to make his way through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Quickly, though, why Lamentations? This is what I told our CrossWay family a few weeks back in answer to this question: First, we need a biblically informed Hope. (see Lamentations 3:9-24). Lamentations moves us from sorrow to Hope. Second, we need to see Lament is a gift from God that dare not be ignored or too quickly passed over. And third, God invites us (who we actually are, not who we want to be) into relationship with Him. And, because our lives are often a mixture of joy and pain, He calls us to pour out our hearts to Him, in both.
This in now way will be a “gloomy” series, though I have jokingly told the church here, that we will be passing out anti-depressants at the end of each message! No, instead, I am envisioning a highly personal, practical, and encouraging series of messages.
Another reason “why” I felt moved to begin a series on Lamentations, goes back to the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. How, for Christ’s sake, do we worship and trust God in the midst of such unspeakable sadness, evil, and non-sense? Would you answer that question or feel any different, if you were one of those parents who lost a child? And, how about your own many sadnesses? How do you worship God in and with a broken heart? Have you ever been told, or, implied, that you should “stop complaining” and simply trust God? Is trusting God ever “simple”?
What do you do with the so called “negative” emotions of loneliness, sadness, anger, frustration, and loss? These are realties the book of Lamentations address. I hope to deal honestly with them too.
I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite writers, Michael Card, on the role of lament in our lives. Till we are with Jesus, Lament must be a major dialect we speak!
“We were created to live with God in a garden, yet we wake every morning in the desert of a fallen world,” . . . Lament goes beyond your personal relationships to consider how all creation groans to be restored to God . . . Jesus understood that lament was the only true response of faith to the brokenness and fallenness of the world. It provides the only trustworthy bridge to God across the deep seismic quaking of our lives,’ – Michael Card: A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching out to God in the Lost Language of Lament.
– Pastor Manuel