A Lament for Our City

As I’ve written before, I love liturgical worship. I love the rhythm of teaching myself to feel; I love the thought-provoking words; if I were tailoring a service to my own fancies, there’d be kneeling and Lord knows what else (probably for the best I’m not at the steering wheel of a church’s liturgical planning).

But every so often, I have the chance to write for Soma’s liturgy, and this week I was tasked to write a lament for our city. The goal of a lament is to own the brokenness of the world around us – including in our own hearts – open our eyes to see that brokenness afresh, and to let it lead us to ask God for mercy and help. Here it is:

O God, who rules and claims and would redeem every area of our lives –
Our city has great need of you.

The widening divide between the rich and the poor
Means that some of us gain more and more unnecessary luxuries,
While others find it ever harder to obtain food, education, and meaningful work.

We remain divided along racial lines;
Mistrust and apathy are reflected in our schools, our neighborhoods, and even our churches.

We climb toward wealth or status over the lives of others:
The poor, the fatherless, the unborn

We are infatuated with the empty-calorie pleasures of Western life –
Material comfort, reputation, our physical appetites –
To the point of seeking them over the glory and holiness of God.
We fear the loss of these things more than we crave the pleasures of God

God, our city’s idols are invisible, but they are idols nonetheless.
Break us of them;
Restore us to unity with you and with one another;
Remake us into a city that worships and serves you,
By the power of Jesus Christ. Amen.


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