Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 59

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE for him to resolve.”40 This evocative rhetoric stands in stark contrast to “God is good . . . all the time” Christian worship. Awake O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? (Ps 44:23–24) Today’s congregations might imagine they are nearing the language of lament when they sing the words of suffering Job in Redman’s chorus, Blessed Be Your Name: “You give and take away . . . My heart will choose to say Lord, blessed be your name”41 (in a major key with hands clapping at 116 beats per minute). But the psalms of lament invite us to scream: You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale. .......................... Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path. But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals and covered us over with deep darkness. (Ps 44:12, 18–19) [and] I am confined and cannot escape; my eyes are dim with grief. .......................... Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction? (Ps 88:8b–9a, 11) A most surprising and important lesson of the lament psalm is that it is designed for recitation within a context of trust and praise.42 “In taking the 40. Ibid., 395. 41. Matt Redman, Blessed Be Your Name: The Songs of Matt Redman, vol. 1, Survivor Records, SURCD5026, CD, 2005. 42. “[The] laments are really expressions of praise—praise to God in the time of his absence.” Bernhard W. Anderson, Out of the Depths, 47. Also see Allen P. Ross, “The ‘Thou’ Sections of Laments: The Bold and Earnest Prayers of the Psalmists,” in The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul, ed. Andrew J. Schmutzer and David M. Howard (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2013), 135–150. According to Ross, “Even though the complaint is strong, in making it the psalmist maintains communion with God” (140). 58