The grief of losing a child is all too familiar for Christie and I, having lost three babies to miscarriage. Upon hearing news of friends who have lost children as recently as yesterday, my heart is shattered once again. There are no words. The triune God revealed to us in the person of Jesus and by the Spirit has given us a particular (though neglected) language, grammar, and practice of the Kingdom for these times … lament.

We lament the death of a beloved (a spouse, child, family, friend, etc):

Lamb of God
You take away the sins of the world
Have mercy on us.
Grant us peace.

For the unbearable toil of our sinful world,
We plead for remission.
For the terror of absence from our beloved,
We plead for your comfort.
For the scandalous presence of death in your Creation,
We plead for the resurrection.

Lamb of God
You take away the sins of the world
Have mercy on us.
Grant us peace.

We lament in the aftermath of evil and tragedy:

O Holy One, I can no longer see.
Blinded by tears
that will not cease,
I can only cry out to you
and listen
for your footsteps.

Are you, too, O God,
blinded by tears?
Have you watched this world
pile its hate
onto the faces
of your little ones
until your eyes are so filled with tears
that you cannot see me
waiting for you?
Are you, O God,
deafened by the expletives
of destruction and death?
Have you heard
so many obscenities
that you cannot hear
my moaning?
O God, if you are blind,
can’t you hold out
your hand to me?
If you’re deaf,
can’t you call my name?

How long, O God,
am I to sit
on the plain of blindness?

How long am I to listen
to the profanity
of my enemies
who mock:
“Where is your God now?”

Show them, O my God,
that you remember.
Reach out your hand
and dry my eyes
that I might see
a new beginning.
Open your mouth
and call me by name
that I might know
you remember me.
Claim me that I might
announce in the marketplace
that my God is here.

O my heart,
give thanks!
My God is here even
in the midst of destruction.

We lament in song:

We’ve seen mothers bury sons | And were begging You to come

The broken fill our towns | And the hopeless shout aloud

We cannot wait | We cannot wait | Oh, we cannot wait

When the poor are thrown aside | The sick are left to die

We need Your grace, oh God | Your grace, oh God | We need Your grace

We cannot wait, oh God

Your grace, oh God | We need Your grace

You are here | Your Kingdom come

Rescue us from all we’ve done | Help us move and be the love

Save us now from all we’ve done | We’ve seen mothers bury sons

And we are begging You to come | We are begging You to come

God, come

We pray the Prayer/Cry of the Kingdom (Matthew 6: 9-13 CEB):

Our Father who is in heaven,

uphold the holiness of your name.

Bring in your kingdom

so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.

Give us the bread we need for today.

Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,

just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.

And don’t lead us into temptation,

but rescue us from the evil one.

O Holy and Compassionate Father, we cry out to you in the name of your Son, our liberating King Jesus, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Hear our prayers … heed our laments … heal our hearts! Amen.