Welcome to this lament playlist. You can access the songs on Spotify or using the You Tube videos below. These are six songs that I have chosen that have led me through lament in my own life. The playlist is around 32 minutes, and leads one through 1 declaration (Holy are you Lord) and 5 requests (Lord have mercy, Lord bring justice, Let your kingdom come, Lord give us rest, and Lord grant us strength).
Below is a youtube link to each song, the prayer or request that defines that choice, and a verse or chorus that has stood out for me. I hope that this playlist allows space for one to draw closer to God and allow the Holy Spirit to shape the way your heart breaks for a world God deeply loves. Let’s begin with song #1.
Prayer: “Our Father in heaven, Holy is your name…”
Song: Is He Worthy - Shane and Shane
This beautiful song was influenced by a Kenyan Anglican Liturgy, and Revelation 5. The main chorus asks the question, “Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole? Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll.” These are the questions the angel asks in Revelation 5. The apostle John, who sees this, is distraught when no one is found who is able. As his hope is fading, however, an elder turns to John and says in Revelation 5:5, “Do not weep! See the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” John then sees the Lamb, Christ, and the heavens declare, “You are worthy!” The passage goes on to describe that because Christ died and rose again, He is worthy to make the wrong things right. As we begin our time of lament, we must remember that we do not mourn as people who have no hope. We yearn, we pray, we cry out precisely because we have hope that Christ will one day come and restore His creation. In the face of brokenness we begin by proclaiming, “You are worthy of all blessing and honor and glory…” We enter lament knowing that God is with us. Worship reminds us who God is, and who we are because of what He’s done. Let this adoration, this reminder color the way we continue this lament.
Prayer: “Lord have mercy…”
Song: Kyrie Eleison - Vineyard Worship
We begin our lament through our own personal confession. The title “Kyrie Eleison” comes from the Greek language and translated means, “Lord have mercy.” As humans, in the presence of a Holy God, we need to take time and acknowledge in humility our own brokenness. We stand as people in need of God’s forgiving grace. This song begins each verse with a description of a sin or broken characteristic:
“For the things we’ve done and left undone…
For the ways we’ve wandered from your heart….
For the idols we put on Your throne…
For the loves we choose above Your own….”
The chorus then leads the listener through a meaningful practice of singing:
“Lord have mercy...Christ have mercy...Lord have mercy on us…”
These lines, this pattern, is very common in liturgies of confession. The song ends with a reminder that we serve a God who is faithful to forgive. This is based on 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” So we begin this time in personal confession, asking God to make the wrong things right in our own lives.
Prayer: “Lord bring justice…”
Song: Rise up - Andrew Peterson
As I think about Lament, I realize that not only does one have to grapple with their individual sin, but there are times where hurt, wickedness, and violence have been done to that person. It’s the injustice, the times where those in power have broken or trampled upon the vulnerable. If this is you, I am sorry. This is never what a kind, loving God ever intended. As I lament this, I consider this song by Andrew Peterson. The song echoes Lamentations 3:34-36,
“To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land,
To deny a person their rights before the Most High,
To deprive a person of justice - would not the Lord see such things?”
The song looks at the brokenness done to the vulnerable, and reminds the listener that these wrongs are not hidden from the Lord. That one day, either now or when Christ returns, those that crush others will be crushed, and the Great I AM will hold all who have done wrong accountable. So with this knowledge we can lament and pray, “Lord bring your justice…” Lord you have seen the wrongs committed against us, Lord bring your healing, bring your strength, and would you make this wrong, right.
Prayer: “Lord, let your Kingdom Come…”
Song: Kingdom Come - Common Hymnal
Our Lament has led us through our own personal confession and an offering of the wrongs committed against us. The next part of this lament is a cry of, “Let your Kingdom come.” This powerful song by the Common Hymnal grapples with the brokenness of the world around. Verse 2 reads:
“There are people marching hands in the air,
They are hurting they are scared
There are people trying to understand
Why racial wars are here again…”
It doesn’t take long to look at this world and see the deep wounds of violence and prejudice. The complexity of the chords yet simplicity of the lyrics, for me, underline the gravity of the situation and the weight of the solution. The solution to this brokenness is, “Lord, let your Kingdom Come.” How can we ask the Lord to open our eyes to the fears experienced by our neighbor, to restore our minds so that we are motivated more by empathy and love rather than the division and isolation that is so easy to resort to. At this point maybe pull up a news story, or hold in your hands the stories of your neighbors around you. As you do this, just sing or pray the lines of this Chorus, “Let your Kingdom Come.” The artist cries out at the end, “Only you can do this Lord.” Amen Abba, you see this corruption of what you’ve created, would you help us keep our eyes fixed on you and join you in step with your Spirit as you bring light to the darkness.
Prayer: “Lord give us rest…”
Song: Oh Love that Will Not Let Me Go - Ascend the Hill
Lament can be hard. It can be taxing to look at the world, to mourn with those who mourn, to suffer with those who suffer. We don’t do this alone, however. We have a Savior who suffered on the cross and who knows exactly what we’re walking through, and crazy enough, walks alongside us in that. I’m drawn to Psalm 23:4 which says,
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
So as we face the “darkest valleys” be that sickness, death, brokenness, or isolation in our own lives or in the lives of our friends and neighbors, Scripture reassures us that we have a Good Shepherd who is with us. This reimagining of the hymn by Ascend the Hill reminds us that the same love that did not let humanity go on the cross (the world’s darkest hour) will not let us go as we walk through this world. This love seeks us, comforts those who mourn, rejoices with those who rejoice, and will one that make all things new. On that day we’ll proclaim, “Holy, Holy, is the King of Kings!”
Prayer: “Lord grant us strength…”
Song: So Will I - Osby Berry
The last part of our time of lament is led by the prayer, “Lord grant us strength.” This song has been incredibly powerful in my own life and I know in the lives of many members of our community. The idea of our response being, “So Will I” to God’s character; to His movement. There’s a beauty and power in the way the artist Osby Berry covers this tune. At the end he just sings the tag, “You’re the one who never leaves the one behind.” As we head into the rest of our day, may we remember that the same God who loved us so much that he went to the cross for us is the same God who will never leave us as we walk through each day. May we also remember that, this same God invites us to remind others that they are not left behind.
We pray, Lord give us strength to mourn well, give us strength to love fully, and give us strength to proclaim, ‘So Will I’ and join you in your work of making the wrong things right.