Do You Really Have a Conversation with God?
Often our public and private conversations with God are “sugar-coated” and do not reflect the realities of our lives. In contrast, the early Hebrews voiced their sorrow, frustrations, anger and unhappiness to God in both public worship and private reflection/prayer through laments. Dare we yell at God and challenge God? Can our prayers, hymns, preaching, poetry, and art really articulate what is happening in our lives and the world? Is our God big enough to respond and is our faith such that we can be in real dialogue with God?
On November 13 at 2:00 pm through November 14 at 2:00 pm Scarritt-Bennett Center is offering a retreat/study designed to strengthen our relationship with God and provide new avenues of expressing our realities. We will be looking at the Biblical laments, both individual and communal, found primarily in Psalms; at the healing stories of Jesus which are often prose laments; at hymns and songs that state a lament or a cry for help to God; at visual art as a form of lament; and at contemporary laments/prayers written in a time of trial and frustration.
This retreat/study will cost for commuters $75 which includes 3 meals and tuition and for those who choose to spend the night on campus $135 which includes 1 night lodging, 3 meals and tuition. Register at: http://bit.ly/spiritualityofprotest or go to www.scarrittbennett.org and then to the Event Calendar and then to this event in November. I will be leading this study and believe that we all need to find ourselves in realistic conversations with God in this environment of hate, racism, scandal, as well as political unrest.
Here is an example of a short lament based on current realities:
O God, I am tired of women not being believed
about abuse, rape, harassment even though it may
have happened years ago.
I am angry that men can get away with such action
and continue to deny or ridicule those women who speak out.
It’s no wonder that young girls don’t report the abuse and
families and individuals live with shame and self-doubt.
O God, I know you can help this situation
Are there other strategies that we need to use for justice to happen?
I know you love each one of us, both female and male
but please God, give special love and care to women
taking a stand for themselves and their sisters.
Give courage, give strength that my resistance may
follow your guiding hand and bring about justice for all.
Thank you, for listening to my plea. Amen.
Come and share in words, music, dance, or art your conversations with God as we continue on this journey.
Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.