From time to time I look over listings of ministerial job openings, mainly to make sure none of them are saying, “We need Peggy Haymes to come and let us pay her a large amount of money which she will be happy to tithe.” Haven’t found that yet.
I do see, however, music ministry openings whose requirements include being able to lead the Praise Band. I’ve heard of lots of churches that have Praise Bands. I keep looking for one that has a Lament Band.
There’s no reason not to, if you think about it. If you keep track as you read the psalms you’ll find that there are many more psalms of lament than songs of praise. The psalmist gives thanks but the psalmist also pitches a fit, wails in deep sorrow and directly questions God.
Both the praise and the laments of the psalms create a container for the realities of our lives. There are times when we can say with glad and grateful hearts, “God is good.” And there are times when we must shake our fists at the heavens and scream, “If you are so good, God, then where are you?”
Why do I suffer?
Why do I lose what’s most dear to me?
Why do the bad guys get to win, running over the good guys time and time again?
This hymnal of the church doesn’t provide easy answers. But it lets us know that there is no part of our human experience that is off limits to our faith and no feeling that we need to express that God cannot hear.
So maybe I’ll get started on that Lament Band.
My latest book, I Don’t Remember Signing Up for This Class: a life of darkness, light and surprising grace” is now available for Kindle. The print version will be out in September.