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The following suggestions for a service of lament will need sensitive adaptation for your particular context and their use may depend upon the depth of your relationship with the group. ‘Lament’ is a word that has all but slipped from our vocabulary. It is an expression of sorrow or grief that is tucked away and only expressed privately. There have been many indications in recent decades of the need to lament, not only individually but corporately. This need was dramatically visible after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, but these days it is common practice to leave flowers and light candles at the scenes of tragedies. We also see a form of lament in the ritual that developed at Royal Wootton Bassett and continues at RAF Brize Norton, in which family, friends and local people gather for the repatriation of the bodies of fallen soldiers with military flags lowered and flowers cast on the cortège.

The psalmists give a wonderful insight into the process of anger and lament worked out in submission to God. In this submission, people can find release from all that has bound and consumed their hearts and minds. The church is once again recognising the need to lament and finding ways to do it, one illustration being the development of liturgy within the Anglican Church that includes ‘Facing Pain: a Service of Lament’ in New Patterns of Worship. This service offers words of comfort and looks toward hope in the resurrection of Christ, as well as giving an opportunity to lay down the past in prayer and move on to the future in the presence of God.

A creative and original book of liturgies and reflections for use in worship and also pastoral ministry with older people, who are moving from the 'third age' to the more dependent 'fourth age' of life. Developed by the author after many years of working in church and community settings with older people, the book provides an invaluable resource for those embarking on this ministry as well as those wanting inspiration for their ongoing work. The book also includes wider reflections on ageing and spirituality.

Publisher: BRF - view more
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