Thursday, 5 November 2009

Where are the hymns of lament?

I've noticed of late that there are no real hymns of lament!
'Abide with me' comes to mind then I get a stretched.
Anyone know any? Please post below if you do.

It seems like a rather big gap in our worship. Of course there are loads of Psalms of lament yet we seem to have ignored the genre today. If we are to worship at all times, and come as we are, do we not need, as the Psalmists at least seemed to, need to come and lament as to rejoice?

Even Jesus lamented, although in this case in words;

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"
(Matt 26:36-46)

It seems to be looked down on in church now. You are expected to be happy and joyous all the time and if you're not then it is seems as you lacking something in Christ.
I think it's time that we re-established this genre in our worship and learn to mourn with those who mourn, as well as rejoice with those who rejoice.

Till next time.


  1. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one! I'm a church music director, and lent is filling me with angst. (Though, I suppose that's a good thing, in a sense!) Even the songs that begin in lament don't stay there for long, but especially in contemporary worship styles there is no room for grief. I get that God is with us, and the joy of the Lord is our strength, but It's as though we're afraid to get real with ourselves or with God about our moments of despair.
    Being a song writer, also, I'm hoping to get some good stuff out there that's usable during lent. Our pastor is doing a series on "Lamenting" during lent, so we may just have to whip up some good ol' fashioned laments for worship. Let me know if you have any ideas!

  2. Hi Brandi,
    thanks for your comment. They really are slim pickings aren't they! If you come across, or maybe even compose, anything I'd appreciate your sharing. I've still not found anything suitable tbh. Everything new is too 'happy-clappy' lol.
    God bless,

  3. Anne Steele

    Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

    1. Dear refuge of my weary soul,
    On Thee, when sorrows rise
    On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
    My fainting hope relies
    To Thee I tell each rising grief,
    For Thou alone canst heal
    Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,
    For every pain I feel

    2. But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail,
    I fear to call Thee mine
    The springs of comfort seem to fail,
    And all my hopes decline
    Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
    Thou art my only trust
    And still my soul would cleave to Thee
    Though prostrate in the dust

    3. Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
    And shall I seek in vain?
    And can the ear of sovereign grace,
    Be deaf when I complain?
    No still the ear of sovereign grace,
    Attends the mourner's prayer
    Oh may I ever find access,
    To breathe my sorrows there

    4. Thy mercy seat is open still,
    Here let my soul retreat
    With humble hope attend Thy will,
    And wait beneath Thy feet,
    Thy mercy seat is open still,
    Here let my soul retreat
    With humble hope attend Thy will,
    And wait beneath Thy feet