Practising healthy theology in the local church

Lamenting with those in pain and restoring hope


  • June Dickie University of KwaZulu Natal



The loss of lament in the modern church has had serious consequences, including a lack of compassion for pain-bearers, the failure to challenge injustice, and essentially the loss of the church’s mission: bringing hope into pain. This article suggests five ways to restore lament to the life of a church, to facilitate a healthy, caring community. First, “hard texts” must be included in the preaching and teaching calendar; second, the church must learn to stand with pain-bearers in corporate lament; third, worship songs must include opportunity for sustained lament; fourth, biblical laments should be read regularly and used by individuals to compose their own laments; and fifth, lament rituals (for regular and special situations) must be built into the rhythm of church life. If such practices can be restored, those who carry pain will once again receive the gift of hope and communal bonds will be strengthened.






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