Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The Necessity of Lament
I'm currently writing my senior paper on
"The Lyricist's Responsibility".
I'm looking at faith-based writers and how they handle the responsibility of the pen.
I've never thought much about prophets. Like many things in the Bible, they have always felt a bit like mythical creatures... Nessie, Unicorns, the world's best cup of coffee, the guy who wears camel fur and eats grasshoppers...it's all a little hard to personalize.
One of the books I am reading (The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann) is making me think of the poet as prophet for the first time.
He says that every significant human experience has its origins in Orientation- a Psalm 23 of the soul, where green grass and still waters drown out the distant darkness..Until something happens...
(insert Psalm 22)
We move suddenly and violently from blissful ignorance to the awakening of devastation.
Both are necessary, yet both are incomplete as final resting points...
Where we are stuck in Orientation, it is the prophet's task to initiate lament.
Open eyes. Kick shins. Break windows. Break hearts.
Where we are stuck with the broken shins and glass and hearts of Disorientation, it is the prophet's task to introduce a new song - a song in which God's huge hands can hold every broken heart and things can still make sense; a song where right and wrong, dark and light, yes and no, The Healer and disease - can coexist in and around the same creation.
This is Reorientation - the marriage of Lament and Praise, and the charge and destination of every poet.
That's a big pen to be responsible for, and if Brueggemann is right, then I'm not ready.
I'm still learning how to color in the lines..