20 April 2014

Book Review: A Sacred Sorrow

A few weeks ago at the School of Spiritual Direction, a new friend of mine was reading this book by Michael Card--A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament (2005). He spoke highly of this book. In fact, the morning that we led worship was focused on lament and was driven in part by his readings in this book.  I was intrigued to say the least. 

I had previously read Fragile Stone by Michael Card which was about the emotional life of Peter. Between that book and his music, I knew of his capacity to write with illumination.  This book was no different. 

A Sacred Sorrow is in many regards, the anti-prosperity theology book.  Contrary to books like Joel Osteen Your Best Life Now, I believe Card's topic is ultimately more hopeful because it captures the whole of human experience.  Contrary to happy-clappy Christianity, Card recognizes that God goes with us through the full spectrum of human emotions.  A Christianity that promotes only happiness and success all of the time is disingenuous at best. 

Card explores the prominent theme of lament through the Bible, focusing specifically on a few characters.  He traces the laments of Job, David, and Jeremiah all of whom spoke and wrote about the more difficult sides of life in a fallen world. He then proceeds to show how Jesus--God in the flesh, himself a man of sorrows--has entered our lament and has echoed the previous laments.

I suspect this book will be different from many Christian books that people want to read.  Yet it is important to read. It seems to me that Christianity, in America at least, has lost the capacity to worship in the midst of sorrow, anguish and pain. This book may help you to rediscover how God goes with us in those seasons as well. 

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