Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times,
By Soong-Chan Rah
Soong-Chan Rah’s book, Prophetic Lament, speaks volumes to us in 2020 as western nations grapple with racism. We are learning the magnitude of how, in previous centuries, Africans became expendable possessions and slavery often took place within a Christian context, where believers were seeking to share the gospel with people from other backgrounds.
Rah’s work is rooted in the book of Lamentations and deals with suffering, the biblical tradition of lament, as well as contemporary issues such as racism. It is especially relevant to modern western Christians who may be immersed in a “triumph and success” style of ministry. Churches that have a theology of lament, however, have a better grasp of suffering and injustice.
The opening of the book of Lamentations allows God’s people to tell and express stories of suffering that the main culture often ignores or suppresses. Rah writes that biblical lament is a practical way to engage with and challenge society, as well as a means of enabling God’s people to express themselves.
This book is available from The Masters Bookstore (mastersbookstore.ca) or from Amazon.
Some quotes from this book:
“In the American Christian narrative, the stories of the dominant culture are placed front and center while stories from the margins are often ignored. As we rush toward a description of an America that is now postracial, we forget that the road to this phase is littered with dead bodies. There has been a deep and tragic loss in the American story because we have not acknowledged the reality of death. Stories remain untold or ignored in our quest to “get over” it. But in the end, we have lost an important part of who we are as a nation and as a church. We have yet to engage in a proper funeral dirge for our tainted racial history and continue to deny the deep spiritual stronghold of a nation that sought to justify slavery.”
“The American church avoids lament. The power of lament is minimized and the underlying narrative of suffering that requires lament is lost. But absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. Absence makes the heart forget. The absence of lament in the liturgy of the American church results in the loss of memory. We forget the necessity of lamenting over suffering and pain. We forget the reality of suffering and pain.”
“Lament challenges the church to acknowledge real suffering and plead with God for his intervention.”