Dictionary

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Confirmation

Confirmation is about ‘confirming’ the faith in God we declared at baptism. It also involves being strengthened by God’s Holy Spirit. In the Church in Wales it is administered by the bishop.

Diocese

‘Diocese’ refers to the geographical territory in which a bishop exercises oversight. The Church in Wales is divided into six dioceses each with its own cathedral in which is housed the cathedra (the bishop’s ‘chair’ or ‘throne’).

Prayer

Prayer sustains our human relationship with God and may involve words (formal or informal) or be silent. Prayer can involve adoration (‘I love you’), confession (‘sorry’), thanksgiving and supplication (‘please’).

Home Education and Young People Resources Lamentations Lesson 4

Lesson 4

Chris Auckland profile picture
Christoph Auckland, Senior Outreach Officer for Llandaff Diocese

This last lesson suggestion is more suitable for Upper Key Stage Two.

It has been written by Bethan Bowen and Christoph Auckland.

Christoph is the Senior Outreach worker for Llandaff Diocese. He supports churches and communities across the diocese.

The lesson may involve some difficult conversations, particularly around death, so each school will need to adjust and adapt to suit their class and learners.

Advice on how to talk to children about death is available from Marie Curie here

How Can Laments Help us to Express Sadness and Move Forward?

Encounter

In the Christian tradition laments allow a person to express their sadness, anger, pain to God. This can even include being angry at God for the bad things that have happen. It helps us to shine a light on our sadness so it is not hidden away inside, but it also gives us a way out of that sadness by calling on God to help. Laments are important as they’re a sign, through the Bible, that sadness or anger is a failure, that we aren’t letting God down by being sad. Indeed their a confirmation from God that it’s ok not to be ok. Laments encourage us to be genuinely open and honest with God about how we feel, to take our deepest concerns and pain to God, knowing that God will never reject us for our prayers: no prayer is too honest.

Discuss: When might we lament? Why?

What is a Lament?

The word Lament comes from the Latin lamenta which means weeping or wailing, and that’s what a lament is - an outpouring of our sadness in poetic form that expresses loss, sadness, anger and grief, either as an individual or as a community. These type of laments appear in two places in the Bible – the Book of Lamentations, and 67 of the 150 psalms that make up the Book of Psalms.

Share examples of laments with the children.

Discuss: How did you feel reading the laments? What is the purpose of a lament? How might a lament help people to move forward

How to write a Lament

Laments usually have seven parts when written as a lamenting psalm, and whilst not all the parts appear in every lament, and not always in the same order as written below, this is a useful guide on how to structure a lament.

The address (the bit that show’s it’s written to God) – this usually appears as ‘O Lord’ or ‘O God’

An example of where God has been kind to you or shown love in the past

The complaint – the specific thing you’re sad, angry or need help with

A confession of sin or a claim of innocence – this means you’re saying you haven’t done anything wrong, or you are sorry for what you’ve done

The request – this is where you ask for God’s help

God’s response – this is what God might say or do back to you. This part is quite rare in most lamenting psalms but it does appear in some

A vow of praise or a statement of trust – this is saying that you love or trust God to help you

The only part of the above that a lament must have is the complaint, as this is the specific part you’re asking God for help with.

What does this look like in the Bible

To show you how this works in practice, let’s look at Psalm 13, one of the short and commonly used lamenting psalms. We’ll use the CEV translation of the Bible as it's easier to understand the language:

1 How much longer, LORD,

will you forget about me?

Will it be for ever?

How long will you hide?

2 How long must I be confused

and miserable all day?

How long will my enemies

keep beating me down?

3 Please listen, LORD God,

and answer my prayers.

Make my eyes sparkle again,

or else I will fall

into the sleep of death.

4 My enemies will say,

“Now we've won!”

They will be greatly pleased

when I am defeated.

5 I trust your love,

and I feel like celebrating

because you rescued me.

6 You have been good to me, LORD,

and I will sing about you.

Can you see some of the elements of a lamenting psalm in there?

Let’s look again

1 How much longer, LORD, will you forget about me?

The address to God

Will it be for ever?

How long will you hide?

2 How long must I be confused

and miserable all day?

How long will my enemies

keep beating me down?

The complaint – the specific thing you’re sad, angry or need help with

3 Please listen, LORD God,

and answer my prayers.

Make my eyes sparkle again,

or else I will fall

into the sleep of death.

4 My enemies will say,

“Now we've won!”

They will be greatly pleased

when I am defeated.

The request – where you ask for God’s help

5 I trust your love,

and I feel like celebrating

because you rescued me.

6 You have been good to me, LORD,

and I will sing about you.

A vow of praise or a statement of trust – saying that you love or trust God to help you

Your turn

Now we’ve seen how laments are written, it’s time to have a go yourself. Reflect on something that has impacted you or your community – it could be the global Covid-19 pandemic, the wars in Afghanistan or Ukraine, or something else - and write your own psalm of lament to God.

Let us Pray

Creator God, we join you in your lament over the brokenness of creation. We lament over all the suffering in the world.
We consider all the pain and fear being experienced in the world right now. We think of our neighbours, near and far.

We bring before you now all our honest and real emotions.
We lament, oh God!
Renew our hope and our strength as we look to you, the God who cares and embraces us in our pain. Lord God, let your kingdom come.
Let your will be done.

Amen.

Additional information on laments from Tearfund.