I have chosen to build my message for tomorrow's worship around the reading from Job. The Margaret River congregation has endured a tough year. Earlier in the year we had three members of the congregation die within six weeks of each other and a well-loved member move to Perth. Last week another treasured member passed away and we have a few fighting illness and their own personal issues. All of this takes it's toll and we, as a community, are left wondering when the pain will end.
So, to talk about Job and his suffering has come at an opportune time. Towards the beginning of the service I am going to invite the people to create, on the spot, a Psalm of Lament. There are at least fourteen psalms of lament in the Bible. Perhaps the most well-known is Psalm 137 - By the Rivers of Babylon. Some of them are communal, some are personal. Some are lamenting things the writer has done and some are about the injustice they are experiencing. I can recall a time in my life when I literally yelled a psalm of lament to God. I was a lot younger and felt a huge injustice had been brought upon me. I now know I brought it upon myself. However, my little rant out to the ocean telling God how unfair life was helped.
I don't think we allow ourselves to lament enough. Somehow we have a perception that life should be all rosy and nice when we are a Christian. Well, we all know that is not true. While looking at the psalms of lament in the Bible I have found a section that I am going to claim as my own for today.
Psalm 38: 9-15
"All my longings lie open before you, O Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.
My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbours stay far away.
Those who seek my life set traps,
those who would harm me talk of my ruin;
all day long they plot deception.
I am like a deaf [woman], who cannot hear,
like a mute, who cannot open [her] mouth;
I have become like a [woman] who does not hear,
whose mouth can offer no reply.
I wait for you, O Lord;
you will answer, O Lord my God."