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Center for Action and Contemplation

Lamentation: Weekly Summary

Saturday, April 22, 2023

The prophets warn us, and too few listen; when the inevitable consequences come, the prophets invite us not to let our opportunity pass by without being named, mourned, and lamented.
—Brian McLaren 

Lamentation prayer is when we sit and speak out to God and one another—stunned, sad, and silenced by the tragedy and absurdity of human events. It might actually be the most honest form of prayer.
—Richard Rohr 

Jesus wept, / and in his weeping, / he joined himself forever / to those who mourn… / He stands with the mourners, / for his name is God-with-us.
—Ann Weems 

Lament is not despair. It is not whining. It is not a cry into a void. Lament is a cry directed to God. It is the cry of those who see the truth of the world’s deep wounds and the cost of seeking peace.
—Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice 

When we go to the place of tears, it’s an inner attitude where when I can’t fix it, when I can’t explain it, when I can’t control it, when I can’t even understand it, I can only forgive it. Let go of it, weep over it. It’s a different mode of being.
—Richard Rohr 

Therein lies the power of lament: to speak the truth that all is not well. Lament is prophetic speech. It bears faithful witness to all that is not right with the world and to all that is not right with ourselves.
—Andi Lloyd 

Weep for the World  

We invite readers to listen and lament with the song Weep for the World, written and performed by Brian McLaren to express our human desire to both grieve and heal from the harm we have caused.  

Let us weep for the world 
being broken apart 
by humans,  
foolish humans. 
Let us grieve the desecration  
of forest and stream, 
of glacier and ocean and humans,  
like us.  

Let us be mindful of the children,  
being born today,  
in a world torn apart 
by humans.  
Let us show our children  
a more excellent way  
to walk on the earth and be human,  
truly human.  

Let us love this world  
we’ve been breaking apart  
and let our love bring wholeness.  
And let us love one another  
with a compassionate heart  
for it is love that makes us human, human. 

Let us weep for the world  
We are breaking apart,  
so we can love it back  
to wholeness.  
Let our hearts be stretched  
by great sorrow and love,  
so they will never contract  
to being less than human.  


Brian McLaren, Weep for the World. Used with permission. 

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—McEl Chevrier, Untitled. Margi Ahearn, Exercise on Grief and Lamentation. McEl Chevrier, Untitled. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image. 

On retreat, the CAC staff used watercolors to connect to our collective grief. This is one of the watercolor paintings that came from that exercise.  

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