At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus wept. Even for one who would be raised again.
Lament means grieving death in all its forms. It’s an expression of faith – holding pain before God; confessing loss and belief part of the same reality.
It is all too easy for our dealings with pain to become escapist. In the middle of a pandemic we find ways to avert our eyes from the sight of death. In other times, we construct our lives around absolving ourselves of the deaths we are complicit in. We are death-denying.
Christian faith is not death-denying. We are asked to fix upon death in our remembrance of Christ, “to carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:10).
Christian faith preserves a memory of suffering at it’s centre. In some sense I don’t yet understand, experiencing loss is a central part of faith.
Blessed are the mourners, says the Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Or in the words of Rowan Williams, “if you don’t shed some tears while you’re here you will have missed the point” (Holy Living, Ch1).
Lament questions the status quo and rejects it in favour of the expectation of God, rejects the certainty of death in favour of what God makes possible.
All this is to say faith moves us to profess our grief as we look upon death. At the grave, let us weep.