29 Sep

What is a lament? A lamentation? Who assumes, takes on the lamentation cries? … beginning today I will begin a 12 part series on the nature of laments, from the Bible to Gilgamesh; from Snow White to the Harry Potter series; and the voices of 21 refugees to those without audible voices. The silenced and the self-silenced.

Where to begin?

I have chosen a twelve part structure as it parallels a narrative in twelve chapters, the book Ecclesiastes.

At a glance Ecclesiastes may seem a puzzling choice to structurally frame an exploration of laments. Yet, it is a pastor/teacher text in its essence that is seeking, through whispers and cries, the meaning and natural radix of life. Ecclesiastes is a teacher’s lament, their cry, as author journeys. It has 12 sections, or steps if you will, that traces its author’s movements as they seek. Life, itself, is the result of this stepping. Ecclesiastes 12:8 cries out,

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Everything is meaningless!”’

and this cry is in a real sense the ‘goad’ of 12:8, the words sharpen as a lamenting spike to meaning,

“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—-given by one shepherd.”

Goads have the purpose of keeping sheep and cattle focused on the path they are to tread: to look neither right or left but to walk steadily. One shepherd’s goads, their words, lead to cries as they penetrate our heart, or mind, our spirit and soul. laments are the cries of our journey.

We begin tomorrow.

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