Honest Sadness: Lament in a Pandemic Age


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Book Details

Format: Paperback (166 pages)

Publisher: Sacristy Press

Date of Publication:

ISBN: 978-1-78959-161-3

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​In the present century, from 9/11 to COVID-19, there is much to disturb our securities and beliefs. The Old Testament presents us with similar situations of bewildered suffering, and one persistent theme of response is that of lament. John Holdsworth examines lament as a means of articulating faithful incomprehe​nsion, and as a resource for what have been called communities of honest sadness. He traces the development of lament through the Old Testament and questions why it is apparently absent from both the New Testament and much of the life of the Church today, at just the point where many think it could be most useful. Those who work with disabled people and with abuse victims, for example, are realizing the importance of lament. Liturgists are wondering how it can be reintroduced into worship, and whether it is legitimate to do so. Biblical scholars are looking afresh at how and why lament died out. The book brings these various questions and insights together, suggesting that perhaps the early Church got it wrong about lament, and attempting new definitions for communities of honest sadness. It is written not only from the perspective of lived experience in the wider world in such places as Beirut and Bosnia, but also from the intensely painful personal experience of the author’s own bereavement. It will be of interest to all who are reflecting theologically seriously on our times, or supporting others in doing so.

​​John Holdsworth is Honorary Director of Ministry in the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and Canon Theologian of the Anglican Cathedral in Nicosia.

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