As we continue to engage the ideas of power, both power that we wield, as well as power wielded against us, I want to talk about how this engages the idea of repentance and lament, and ultimately, how we deal with grief, the primary emotion behind the process. How does this impact not only your life, but the lives of others? We know that some grief can be anticipated, and some can take us by surprise, showing up in our body in unique and powerful ways. 

If you have not had the chance to read The Body Keeps the Score, I highly recommend it, but the ways in which power is used against us shows up in our bodies just as much as it is a head and heart issue.  As we interrogate our internalized and external experiences of power, we can realize that these emotions and feels go really deep, and often we don’t know what to do with them. Grief has a broad variety of cultural and social norms around it, often engrained from our childhood. For some of us, grief (along with repentance and lament) was encouraged to be expressed out loud, to connect with others through, and to express those emotions. The downside of this can be that sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough time alone to process what has happened. Maybe some of our cultural norms for grief was a much more quiet endeavor, limited to close family and friends if anyone, but we may find it hard to express our emotions in community. 

This week’s conversation is adapted from The Racial Healing Handbook, and the image below is an exercise that I want you to think through from your cultural and social norms of grief (and how they apply to repentance and lament), so I invite you to rank your experiences.  

Did any of your answers surprise you? How do you think cultural and social norms may have shaped how you handle grief?

How do you think your cultural and social experiences of grief have impacted how you pastor/lead?

How can we invite our congregations into a holistic expression of grief that allows for lament and repentance?