Lament Night for a Year of COVID

March 19th, 2021 | April Karli

Welcome. We are glad you are here! This is a safe space. What is shared this evening will be kept here. Our purpose is to be present with and to one another in our grief, and to invite God’s healing presence among us. Take a moment to still yourself. 

COVID-19 changed so much of our world. We hope that tonight will give us a moment to pause and reflect, to lament, and to give us a way to express our feelings as we mark this significant anniversary together. We know that much of the loss we’ve experienced is related to the pandemic, but not all of it is. Life and loss has continued within the backdrop of COVID. No loss is too great or small to share tonight. And not every loss is directly related to the virus. You have permission to feel and to share whatever comes up as we are gathered. 

Liturgy of Lament
Lament (a definition): n. a passionate expression of sorrow or grief; a song, hymn or poem of mourning v. to express sorrow, mourning, or regret aloud; to regret strongly 

Opening Prayer
Let’s open by reading this prayer of lament. Our response will be in bold.

God of grace and peace, God of beginnings and endings, look upon us as acknowledge that a year has passed for the Pandemic.
In this season of remembering, we lift up our brokenness, our anger, our sadness. 

We reflect on the previous year with tears and heartache. We have lost loved ones and lived through illness. Families have been isolated and flung into grief.  We have lost jobs, school, and a normal sense of life. We do not want to look back and at the same time don’t know how to move forward. Help us to remember and sit with us for a time in our grief. Then help us to move forward.  We can see the end of the tunnel, but it feels so far away and a bit out of reach. 

Fill us with courage, with hope and with peace. Guide us to begin again in the world that is emerging on the other side of the pandemic. God of goodness and grace, you with us now and forever.

Welcome to this service of lament, a time to express sorrow and grief, given to us in our faith tradition through the ages.
As Sarah lamented barrenness,
As Hagar lamented being cast out,
As Moses lamented for his people’s oppression,
As Amos lamented the fall of his people from God’s covenant,
As Jesus lamented over broken systems of religion and government,
We too cry, as we experience communal trauma and share in our sorrow for God’s people and all of creation.
We too gather, In light of uncertainty, loss, and fear caused by a global pandemic,
We gather to lament
(time of silence)

Prayer of Lament:
Psalm 13
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
(time of silence)

Sharing grief and lament

We now want to invite you into a time to share your grief and lament. This is an open time. If you have something to share, please let us know by saying your name or you can just say, “I have something to share.” Please keep your lament as brief as possible so that all those who have a lament will have time. After you share, you may light a candle on the table as a physical representation of your loss. If you would like to light a candle without sharing aloud, that’s ok too. We are with you in your loss as well.

Lord’s Prayer
Trusting in the compassion of God to hear our cries and deliver us from our troubles, let us finish our time of lament by praying the Lord’s Prayer together:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen

Closing Prayer

Let us close our time of lament with this prayer. Our response will be in bold.
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night,
so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping;
that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace. 

Numbers 6:24-26 24
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.