A Prayer of Lament for Spring 2020

By Bill Kuhn

    Like so many campuses, our college recently held a public live stream chapel to communicate to our learning community. At this event, I offered the following corporate lament for the sorrow at the loss of the remaining days of the semester. A Biblical lament is an expression of grief, sorrow, and desperation to God. The reality of Christianity is that we do not serve a God who is aloof to suffering; rather we worship a God, who through the cross of Christ, knows something of humanity’s deepest tragedies and sorrows. In prayers of lament, we lay before God our brokenness, our need, our sadness, and our longing.

    I wanted to share this lament with the ACSD community that we might find expression for the sorrow our communities are experiencing. Please consider using this prayer with your campus community as we continue to process what we have lost.

    Prayer of Lament for Spring 2020

    Dear God of Heaven and Earth,

    We acknowledge that you are Lord over all circumstances,
    Even the brooding realities that have descended upon the world and our campus.

    We affirm that you are faithful over all circumstances,
    Upholding every student, faculty, staff member, and alumnus by the cord of your lovingkindness. 

    We concede that we as a campus are in a place of hope-filled need.
    “Normal” no longer exists and our fluid situation has left us floating in a current of uncertainty.

    Our community is experiencing disruption…

     A semester began but was aborted.
    Friendships were interrupted with no chance for goodbyes.
    Athletic teams practiced with no final games to play.
    Events were planned without the celebration of fulfillment.
    Classrooms designed for learning are now quiet.
    Faces we love are now absent from view.
    Seniors who graced our hallway must come to terms with a lack of farewells.
    Chapel melodies once sung together in exuberance exist now as cherished memories.
    Commencement exercises anticipated are now redacted from the schedule.

     The disruption is real and, God, we long for your comforting presence amidst it…

    Come, Lord of Hosts,

    Minister healing and peace among our community.

    Lift the hurting
            Calm the anxious
                      Steady the wavering
                                  Comfort the grieving
                                            Restore the broken

    And in all things
              And at all times
                       Show forth your magnificence
                                 That wonder may rise in the place of worry. 

    We see fear on the faces of people in our world.
    Messages of tragedy, loss, and grief mount daily from every corner of the globe
    And though the temptation may be strong to withdraw from the calamity surrounding us,
    We will not retreat from the world You love.

    In our sorrow, we will be hands of healing
    In our suffering, we will be messengers of hope
    In our weakness, we will be someone’s strong arm
    In our uncertainty, we will offer an anchor of love
    In our isolation, we will be the presence of Christ to all

    God, as we are infused with strength provided by Your Spirit,
    Make us clean vessels in the hands of a Divine surgeon.
    Send us boldly, humbly, and wisely into the wounded world
    And may our loving actions be the soothing ointment of compassion
    That reflects the true gospel of Christ.

    Our gracious God,
    Hear now the lament of our community over the loss that besets us.
    Sustain us in our separation
    Encourage us in our uncertainty
    Cradle us in our hurts
    Heal us in our sickness

    Our eyes are immovably set upon Jesus, the wounded healer.
    We lay before You our entire community both present
    and globally scattered, but present in our hearts.
    We confess our need for mercy in our time of uncertainty and our need for faith, not fear,
    We bow in submission to the God still firmly sitting on the throne of grace,
    In whose Name we now pray.

    This lament was originally presented for Crown College Chapel Live Stream, March 19, 2020.

    Bill Kuhn serves as the Vice President of Student Development and Campus Chaplain for Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota.


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