Someone has to Buy the Candles | Creating Space for Lament in Trying Times

This Friday morning is a dark one.

We have woken the past three days to tragic news flashing across every screen we own. Blood and gunfire and crowds scattering and people screaming have been the wake up call to start our day in darkness. This morning I woke up and sat on our patio with my Bible, as is my morning ritual. Before I even turned on my phone, my heart winced in pain. Wednesday morning I was shocked. Thursday morning I was stunned. But this morning, as I sat in the coolness of this Colorado morning, I dreaded opening my phone. I didn’t know the tragic reality of the Dallas sniper shootings, but something in my gut knew that we had not seen the end of the senseless, tragic, horrific deaths that our country has seen.

Over the past three days, Christians have been asking, searching and seeking – What can be done? What can we do? It is a question that I have asked – I asked it at Eric Garner’s death, John Crawford III’s death, Michael Brown Jr.’s death, Ezell Ford’s death, Dante Parker’s death, Tamir Rice’s death, Walter Scott’s death, Freddie Gray’s death, and at all the hopeless moment’s in between that felt impossible to know how we could ever move forward with reconciliation, justice, and peace. I have followed and participated in the conversation, I have read the honesty and grief of others, I have searched my heart long and hard asking the Lord to reveal and deep-rooted discrimination or preferential perspectives that lie unchallenged and un-remediated in me. I have watched the news, prayed tearful prayers, and lamented with my brothers and sisters around the country. And still, for all the motion and commotion of the last several days, I am left wondering – What can we do … now?

And this morning I realized that amidst the tremendous amount of social change and justice work that must be done, there is a here-and-now call of action:

Someone has to buy the candles.

We must undoubtedly launch into motion to seek justice for our brothers and sisters of have needlessly died. We will plan and petition. We will march and we will preach. But today, in the midst of our grief and sorrow over those lost and the great task that lies before us, someone has to buy the candles we will light as we pray and remember.

Today, before you seek to do anything else, be about the work of a peacemaker. Help us carve out sacred spaces amidst the pain and devastation of racial injustice and systemic shame. Mirror your creative, ever-making Father God and be at work to create sacred spaces of mourning out of the nothing that we have left. Curate a place of lament, cultivate a space of sanctuary. Light a candle and call on the Light of the Word in the midst of this dark, dark hour. Out of the yelling and screams of the crowds, make a quiet place for silent tears. Out of the horror on the screens and the social media slippery slope, make a peaceful place where we can share our grieving hearts with openness and honesty; a place where we can say we are angry, and say that we are so very sorry.

Church, rise up. Church, stand up. Church, buy the candles and light them in prayerful remembrance of all that is lost and all the work we have to do.

This Friday is indeed dark, and it echoes the darkness of another Friday. The Friday past was also riddled with death and devastation and yet we Christians have the audacious hope to call it “Good Friday.” And the proclamation of that Friday, the testimony of ages past is this: Sunday will come and nothing in hell can stop it.

Today, we await the ultimate Sunday, the day of final resurrection that will be teeming with new life in Christ. On this very dark Friday, we turn our tearful eyes to the risen One who promises to one day make all things new.




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