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Afghanistan: One thing to do now

The plight of Afghans should call Christians to lament and pray


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The images from Afghanistan on Monday were horrific. Holding on to a plane while it is taking off is desperation spelled out with the largest of letters. From the comforts of our homes it is understandable why we Americans feel helpless and sad. But is expressing sadness all we can do?

Actually, sadness may be more potent than many American Christians imagine … at least a certain type of sadness. The Psalms are full of lament, yet lament is largely absent from the worship of many believers here in America. Misunderstandings about lament also abound. For one, lament does not prepare us for worship. Lament is worship if we are truly bringing our sorrow and outrage to God.

Some of us will be called to do other things with respect to the Afghan people, but we need not downplay the power of lament. Imagine what it would look like for the American church to mourn on a regular basis for the people of Afghanistan (and other places where gross injustice takes place both here and abroad).

Many Christians are not familiar with the book of Lamentations, which describes the terrible scene of Jerusalem being ransacked by their archenemies, the Babylonians. We might start by reading it.


David George Moore

David George Moore is the author of Stuck in the Present: How History Frees and Forms Christians.


Whirled Views

Occasional columns written by WORLD staff members or other contributors.

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Pastor Ward

Anger is often motivated by the view that “nothing” can be done. Biblical Lament is motivated by the belief that Sovereign God is able to do “something”, bringing beauty from ashes. The difference between “nothing” and “something” is dark vs LIGHT, despair vs HOPE. Let us weep with these who weep and Hope in God.

Aaron Friar

Beautiful! Agreed 100%. Worship in our American churches generally too full of pious sentiment. Lament for God's righteousness and how much we fall short of it is desperately needed for our own sake and for the people of Afghanistan. The Psalter is the prayer book of the Church. May we all rediscover its potent power for change and redemption.