Lament for Charleston
Dear Church Without Walls,
One of the things we have learned together in our Nehemiah series is the importance of lament and confession as we survey the places in our world that are broken down, like Jerusalem’s wall was in Nehemiah’s day. It is with anguish that we survey the damage wrought yesterday in Charleston, when a man walked into Emanuel AME Church and gunned down 9 people during a Bible study. The grief and pain at this – seeing brothers and sisters in Christ targeted solely because of the color of their skin – is unspeakable.
CWOW, we will have time to lament together about this on Sunday. But I encourage you to spend some time, on your own and with others, in lament and confession in these days to come.
We can lament like the psalmists do, crying out to God for justice, pouring out our grief, and raging at the ways God can seem absent. Some psalms of lament include Psalm 13, Psalm 74, Psalm 126, or Psalm 137. I encourage you to read one or more of these, and use it as a prayer.
We can also confess. Confession might seem strange in a time like this, but it’s what Nehemiah did when he saw the brokenness of the wall – recognizing that the dynamics that cause the brokenness aren’t just “out there” in the world, but they are in us too, as a people and as individuals. We can confess our own complicity and apathy about changing systems that perpetuate racism and gun violence. With Nehemiah we can pray, “Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for your servants… confessing the sins of the people, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned.” (Nehemiah 1:6)
And please pray for the people of Emanuel AME church, and Charleston. Let’s be lifting up our brothers and sisters today.
In Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life,