The Value of Lament in Today’s World


ChapelThe act of lamenting is often missing in the Western church, according to Dr. Soong-Chan Rah. Speaking at a recent chapel service at Trinity, he traced that reluctance to an inability to deal with suffering and pain. “Not many people talk about Lamentations,” he said.

Rah explored the history of the Book of Lamentations, tracing its origins to the Babylonians’ destruction of Jerusalem. “The first chapter is written as a funeral dirge,” he said. In the 21st century, we don’t often think about dead bodies. “But the history of the church and the United States are littered with them,” said Rah, the Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary.

We must know our history and not be afraid to lament, Rah said. “How can we ask for forgiveness, when we don’t understand our sins?”

Rah’s visit to Trinity was sponsored by a generous grant from NetVUE and the Lilly Foundation.