The ancient practice of lament is the act of crying out and fearlessly speaking our afflictions and disappointments before God. In the cries of our deepest emotions, lament pleads for Divine attention. Lament names tragedy, sorrow, afflictions, and our most difficult losses. Lament is the act of bravely and truthfully naming the extremities of the human condition.
The “beatitudes” found in the teachings of Jesus Christ are a series of statements in which lament takes on the form of a blessing or a proverb. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” is a familiar lament and blessing that is at the heart of the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12).
The beatitudes transform the laments of God’s people. They express profound hope for grace and change in life’s most challenging circumstances. I believe that through grace we are given a spirit of advocacy and comfort (lament and blessing) through which the life situations we confront may be understood and transformed (John 14:15-17).
Following the example of Jesus, and recognizing our unique circumstances, I humbly offer these four beatitudes, that they may help us state our laments—and point us towards healing and give us hope for a future transformed by love and grace.
Blessed are those whose voices are lifted in affliction and outrage before God,
for their voices shall be heard and their laments shall be remembered.
It is so important that injustices be named and that wrongs be addressed. Lament matters! Our Adventist HealthCare Mission states that we extend God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental, and spiritual healing. This is healing that is rooted in truthfulness. Our communities are blessed and shaped by those with the courage to speak out against injustice.
Blessed are those who speak with truthfulness even when they are afraid,
for their fears shall be comforted and they shall find healing.
We respect and appreciate those who courageously speak “truth to power.” The integrity of how we respond and act is rooted in respect for truthfulness.
Blessed are those whose hearts and hands are raised to God in supplication,
for their hearts shall be healed and their hands strengthened to serve and transform.
The brokenness of the world leads us to serve with compassion and care. We believe in the power of God to transform and heal, even in the most devastating circumstances.
Blessed are those whose stories are spoken in darkness,
for the cries of their hearts shall be heard and the light shall come.
God’s presence and power is not constrained by darkness. When voices are raised against injustice, God hears. Nothing can stop the dawn.
A powerful promise is given to us in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV).
Blessed are those who speak out boldly! Not with fear, but with soundness, and with power, and with love.