The Benjamin Eby Lecture
'Seeking Peace as the End of Lament'
W. Derek Suderman
The Christian tradition has long been uncomfortable with the articulation of lament. For some, Jesus’ call to love enemies is even seen as a rejection of this genre, given the prominence of violent wishes or imprecations against enemies found within it. Over time praise and confession have come to dominate the liturgical experience of many worshipping communities, while lament has largely disappeared.
While the Christian Bible anticipates an end to crying, tears, and pain (Rev. 21), it is worth considering the “end of lament” in a different sense; ie: what is the “end”, as in purpose or goal, of lament? Rather than fostering a spirit of vindictiveness or vengeance, at its most basic lament claims that things “are not right in their present arrangement” (Brueggemann) and calls for, even demands, change; in effect, the end of lament is to seek peace in its broad sense of communal shalom. Far from a rejection of lament, the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ own life underscore its ongoing significance. In the end, lament psalms confront Christian communities with contemporary brokenness and pain, challenging them to attend to such cries as calls to seek shalom. Are we listening?
Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 7:30pm, Grebel Chapel
Featuring Susan Schultz Huxman, President of Conrad Grebel University College
‘Speaking Truth to Power:’ Profiles in Rhetorical Courage for Church and Society
The Benjamin Eby Lecture is an annual lecture that presents the research of a faculty member at Conrad Grebel University College. It is named after Benjamin Eby (1785-1853), an early educator and Mennonite church leader in Waterloo County.
For more information on the lecture, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or
call at 519-885-0220 x24264.
For more speakers and recordings of their lectures, please see a list of past Benjamin Eby Lecturers.
Conrad Grebel University College
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6