Reclaiming the Practice of Lament: Lament as a Modern Pastoral Care Practice in the Face of Grief and Loss in the Bahamas. Open Access

Neilly, Jacinta Marie (Spring 2021)

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Losing someone or something you love hurts. Whether it is the death of a pet, loss of a job, divorce, death of a grandparent, or a stillborn child, bereavement can be devastating. A common coping strategy is to become physically, emotionally, and spiritually detached. This is normal, but to avoid grief indefinitely is unhealthy. If grieving people receive support, a platform to express inner pain and the assurance that someone is listening and care about their story, they tend to be healthier. Historically, lament has been one of the most effective means of expressing grief and it is still necessary today. In this study, I propose that lament be reclaimed as a modern pastoral care practice in the Bahamas.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION  The Quest to Reintroduce Lament Practices         1         

1. Lament Defined

2. Context, Demographics, and Method

3. Research Challenges and Project Goals

4. Pastoral Care Case


SECTION I             Traditional Practices of Lament                            6

1. Ancient and Biblical Lament

2. Lament in Bahamian Culture                                                                     

3. Pastoral Care in Worship


SECTION II            The Lost Art of Lament                                          11

1. The Lack of Lament in the Church

2. The Rise in the “Prosperity Gospel”

3. A Forgotten Language

4. Lamentation and COVID-19


SECTION III                       Necessity of Lament                                                 18

1. Sharing Grief with God and the Faith Community

2. Healing and Wholeness

3. Lament Interrupts “Numbness”

4. Meaning Making in Suffering and Loss    


SECTION IV:          Reclaiming Lament                                                22

1. Give Yourself and Others Permission to Lament

2. Start with Small Groups

3. Provide Platforms for Storytelling and Meaning-Making

4. Include Lament in Worship


PROJECT              Prayer & Share                                                       27

A three-month prayer and share series comprising of prayers of lament and celebration and brief reflections on the impact of COVID-19


CONCLUSION: The Way Forward: Lamentation in the

                             Twenty-first Century                                                     30


APPENDIX                                                                                                  33

1. Questionnaires

2. Map

3. Sample Prayers and Reflection

4. Glossary


BIBLIOGRAPY                                                                                          40


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