Lament for Lent
Dr Cathy Ross, Church Mission Society, 2020

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What does it say on the tin?

‘Only with eyes that have cried’ Lament for Lent.

A weekly devotional resource to help you lament and find hope.

How often do you allow yourself to lament? Can you share your lament with others within the church? Can your share your lament with God?

As we enter Lent, please join us in considering the importance of lament. There are so many things in our world worth lamenting right now: climate crisis, inequality among people, poverty, racism, threats of war.

We know that at times Jesus wept and expressed sorrow, and as we focus on his time in the wilderness, up to his persecution and death, lament seems appropriate.

Through this study, you will look at lament as complaint, lament as resistance, justice and innovation and lament as newness and hope.

You are invited to Lament for Lent with CMS. Together we will discover its meaning for our lives.

‘There things that can be seen only with eyes that have cried.’ ++Christophe Munzihirwa, Archbishop of Bukavu, 1994-1996.

What do you get?

Attractive matt A5 booklet with 5 sessions, including phots and images:

Week 1: Introduction to Lament for Lent
Week 2: A Matter of Confidence
Week 3: The Courage to Complain
Week 4: Join the Resistance
Week 5: Lament and Love

Who is it for?

Small groups, adults, Beginning, Growing. Individuals too.


  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    A brief, poignant yet ultimately empowering exploration of our responses to suffering – turning lament through grief to deeper faith and action.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    None really, except the ‘chance to let the unsaid out in some way, and to discover how we can genuinely be there for each other when things aren’t fine.’

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    No directions for group use, so really up to the leader to use the clear, short sections of: Introduction; Questions; Reflection, that may include more questions; Story, a contemporary one; and Prayer. Given the subject, however, this is a resource that is well worth doing as a group, and would be far more beneficial than doing it alone (no matter our personality or experience).

    Who could lead it?

    A sensitive, pastoral leader who is not afraid to face painful subjects, and who is not going to provide ‘sticking plaster’ solutions.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    The booklet is one that all will want a copy of – it is beautifully laid out for a start, and there is room for responses and notes.

    How good is any digital material?


    How much prep will I have to do?

    Definitely need to familiarise oneself with the material, and decide how to guide the group through it – perhaps asking different people to read out the introduction and reflection, for example. You may decide to extend the closing prayer with activities appropriate for your group, whether opportunities to talk individually, quietness around a lit candle, or similar. A box of tissues would not go amiss…

    Is there website support? Links?


  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Good questions, which may best be tackled in groups of twos or threes, as subjects could be very sensitive. Allowing for feedback time at the beginning of each week might be good too.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Mix of reading, thinking, discussion, prayer. Up to the leader how this is extended and used.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    This is an honest resource that looks at difficult topics head on. It gives people a safe framework to discuss and consider hard questions and emotions, without easy answers; yet ultimately with faith and hope. Up to you and your group…

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Around the great quality input given, a leader could help the group grow in compassion and response.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Each session is based on an excerpt from a psalm.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    The excerpt appears at the start of each session, and then the material flows from that.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Psalms chosen lead us helpfully into the reality of pain, suffering, complaint – and towards trust in God in the midst of these. Deeply thoughtful and real.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Broad Anglican.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    This honest resource encourages us to acknowledge the depth of pain and violence in the world, and how to bring that to God.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    The examples and stories are shockingly pain-filled, but also give permission, as do the Bible passages, for honest grieving. Suffering is unavoidable; it is how we respond that counts.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    In the midst of the most horrific tragedies, we are encouraged in to honesty before God, with ourselves, and towards trusting that he is there in the midst, no matter what. We are encouraged to wrestle to find the peace he gives, against all the odds.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    We can all relate to suffering one way or another. Many of the stories here encourage us to hope and to action. They demonstrate love despite the circumstances, and even in the face of continuing ghastliness. They help us to dig down in our trust of God, and walk with him in the darkest of time.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Not a focus, but implicit in stories from mission.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    The care for our fellow humans is well exemplified and in stark contrast to the evil that others can perpetrate.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Persecution, denial of things such as the Holocaust, and current evils are not avoided. But hope prevails.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Thoroughly implicit – this is from the Church Mission Society – and there are some truly wonderful stories in here.

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