oa Scriptura : Journal for Contextual Hermeneutics in Southern Africa - Examples of contemporary laments (based on biblical laments), illustrating theological insights

Volume 117 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0254-1807
  • E-ISSN: 2305-445X



Many of us do not see God in our suffering as a result of our notions of who God is and how God interacts with us. But a study of the psalms of lament can help us bring all our emotions – those emanating from pain, frustration, faith, and a need for revenge – to God. In this article, examples are given of lament poems composed by young Zulu ‘pain-bearers’, after they had come to understand the language of biblical lament, as seen in three psalms. A careful review of these lament psalms gave insight to the participants as to who God is and how we can approach God. They also noted that in the Bible suffering was part of the normal human condition. By composing their own personal laments, the young people were able to process their pain better, and gain a sense of agency, being able to tell their stories and be heard with respect and compassion.

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