Partners in Christian Mission

February/March 2021

February/March 2021

The Value of LAMENT

food for thought:

Food for Thought is a new feature for 2021

This special word of encouragement from a Tasmanian Baptist pastor or leader will now feature in each issue of Advance | step by step

LAMENT - Grief and Hope

By Michael Henderson

I don't value new year resolutions much. But I do try to reflect on the past and learn for the future, and 2020 has provided heaps for 2021.

One of the key learnings for me has been the importance of lament. Our Christian traditions describe it like this: a passionate expression of grief that leads to hope.

This understanding of lament is the centre of my art practice, and the centre of how I speak about my faith.

Lament definition

Two things to point out

1. Lament must be a passionate expression of grief

Lament must be from the heart. It must give voice to the pain and grief. Think of Psalm 42:3:

My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"

Psalm 42:3

2020 has been heart-breaking for so many in our communities. And, I've heard so many of us join with people, listen to them, walk with them through some of their darkest moments, give them a voice to their pain, and love them. All, while we have faced your own fears! It's been difficult, and courageous, and beautiful all at the same time. If we carry this in to 2021 we will transform even more lives and communities!

My tears have been my food, Psalm 42:3

But we can't stop in the pain and grief. It takes courage to enter the grief, and more courage to walk through it and into hope. Not by force, or tricks, or wishful thinking, but through carrying hope in to the darkness, and noticing the moments of hope in our midst. Think of Psalm 42:11:

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my God.

Psalm 42:11

2. The speaking of HOPE

I have also heard HOPE spoken constantly through this past year. It has been leaders describing where they see hope; where they have given and received courage from people around them; where they have noticed Holy Spirit moving in their people; their church, their communities, and even in our state and the world.

People have been looking for this hope, and I've heard many stories of how we joined with them and helped them connect with God. If we carry this hope and courage in to 2021 we will transform even more lives and communities!

If we carry this hope and courage in to 2021 we will transform even more lives and communities!

I have seen our Trinity so powerfully at work this year. Everywhere. And I've sat with people as they wept in front of me (or virtually in front of me), poured out their heart and pain, and then allowed me to lead them to connect with our hope in Jesus.

I am not running from 2020. But I am very much looking forward to 2021, and all that we can do with our Trinity in Tasmania.

Grace and Peace,
Michael Henderson
Leadership Development Co-ordinator
Tasmanian Baptists

Michael Henderson

Are you interested in contributing a similar reflection to a future edition of Advance | step by step?
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ADVANCE | step by step, February/March 2021

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