Jesus gave us a litany of last words as a Sufferer; we refer to them as the Seven Last Words of Christ. The deathbed words of the Suffering Servant provide a framework for the stories of lament we share here this Holy Week.
I count it a high privilege to know -- at least in a small part -- the writers of the mourning stories I'll be sharing here during Holy Week. Their lives walk the path of celebration, yes, but also suffering -- illness, relational disillusionment, anxiety, joblessness, the death of loved ones, and the death of dearly-held dreams. Their stories have helped form me in my understanding of suffering and I believe they could also encourage you too.
Each year during Holy Week I ask friends to share a "mourning story" from their own life as a way to help us see Christ in the midst of suffering. Each story reflects on one phrase of Jesus' dying words. I didn't receive a contribution for this saying this year, but you can find two rich and meaningful posts from previous years.
In 2015 Annie Crawford, my a friend and worship leader from our church in Austin, shared the story of her relationship with her sister. She shares not only a story of deep relational suffering but also a stunning offer of life and hope. The same suffering-bourne grace offered to the dying, believing thief is strong and good enough to rescue us all. You can read her story of lament here.
In 2013 Shannon Coelho, a friend, fellow priest's wife, and mother to our godson shared her story of lament within the verses of a poem. The lines provide only sparse detail but invite us to imagine not only a story of deep relational suffering but also a fraying strand of hope. The same suffering-bourne grace offered to the dying, believing thief is strong enough to rescue us all. You can read her story of lament here.
You can see all the posts from previous years at the following links:
(See all of the Retrieve Lament stories from this year here.)