In speaking of the prayer of lament, Walter Brueggemann says, ‘This initiating power of voiced pain is characteristic of Israel’s powerful tradition of lament, a cry that is able to evoke the power of God…’1 In other words, embracing the tradition of public lament could be something that unleashes God’s power to bless.
Brueggemann explains in his book Prophetic Imagination that (in the western world) both secular and religious leaders have a reluctance to make public space and time for the corporate expression of grief, thereby undermining the trust of the people and the work of God. Such reluctance is driven by the fear of conflict. James Fowler makes the observation that ‘Communities that call persons to ongoing adult development in faith will not fear the intimacy of conflict…’2 In other words; the conflict that comes with grieving and mourning can also bring closeness, along with the possibility of reconciliation and even affection. At the risk of such conflict it makes sense for clusters of communities, which already have a common life, to come together as a grieving body of Christ.
1 Brueggemann W. An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination, (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky, 2003) p.57
2 Fowler J. Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning (Harper Collins, Broadway, New York, 1981) p. 296