Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Book Review: "A Sacred Sorrow" by Michael Card

A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of LamentA Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament by Michael Card

A beautiful elegy to tear-filled faith.

Michael Card’s A Sacred Sorrow is a rich, searching, wise, authentic, and accessible (re)introduction to the “lost language” of biblical lament. For the last few years, I’ve been reading everything reliable that I can find on lament in the Bible. I think the 21st century American church needs that kind of tear-filled faith woven back into our prayer lives, corporate worship, and imagination. Pain and suffering are sadly normal in this broken world, and thankfully God has not left us without tools for living in, responding to, and walking through inescapable sorrow. But all too often we have not had access to or a workable understanding of lament (at least in the majority of conservative American evangelicalism that I’ve experienced). We prefer praise. We attempt to get past or get over our pain. We try to smile it away. We know that we’re supposed to trust, to hope, to consider it all joy, and to consider the joy set before us. And we don’t realize that we are also expected to and invited to weep, wail, and wrestle with God.

Enter Michael Card with his short meditations on the lives and laments of Job, David, Jeremiah and, most importantly, Jesus. Card writes about the dark, lonely, uncomfortable, negative, jagged parts of Scripture and how they are in there for our good. And he does it in an experiential way. Most of the things I’ve read so far on lament are academic and abstract. They express the ideas of lament well, but Michael Card sings them. You feel it. And you know that it is right.

A times he over-reaches or overs-peaks. At least he says things in stronger ways that I could say myself based on the data I have. I have to admit that Card could just be utilizing poetic license, or he may see things I just can’t see...yet. I’m very glad that I’ve read it, and I will recommend it to others who want to help restore the rawness of faith in a minor key.

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