You can explore the themes of necessity and the power of lament with a new film and accompanying resource from Open Doors.
You might not hear lament being discussed a lot in your church. It’s not one of the topics that gets a congregation fired up or inspired. But it is a biblical principle that God can use transformatively – both for the persecuted church and for us in the UK and Ireland.
Filmed in an abandoned chapel in South Wales, Among the Ashes is a beautiful, evocative, inspiring film, which combines biblical reflection with stories from the persecuted church, to explore how lament can bring us hope and comfort, even in the darkest situations. It’s a subject which has a particular poignancy at this time.
“It’s important for Christians to reflect on lament,” says Dr Ron Boyd-Macmillan who presents the film and who has worked with Open Doors for over 35 years. “That transition from groaning to grace maybe the most important transition in the spiritual life. Especially in a time of suffering as we’re coming out of from Covid.”
To accompany the film, there is also a downloadable prayer outline which provides a simple framework to help people to pray for Christians who are among the ashes: whether in the persecuted church, or closer to home among friends, family and fellow Christians.
Lament, of course, has a special place in scripture. Indeed, the film itself features a reflection on Psalm 6.
“There’s so much about lament and sadness in the Bible because life was hard at all times,” says Ron. “The most common type of psalm is the lament psalm. And that’s because many psalmists were struggling - they were struggling with life itself. You have a good harvest or not and it determined if you were alive or dead. There was war, there was plague, there was pestilence all around. And there was persecution too.
"There’s so much about lament and sadness in the Bible because life was hard at all times" Dr Ron Boyd-Macmillan
“And so lament really comes from the chaos and losses and hardships of life. And most Christians and most believers in biblical times lived in that environment. So they spoke out to God from where they were.”
The message of the film is that while no-one wants to live among the ashes, it is a place where we can truly encounter God in a new and powerful way.
As Ron says, “We all have to go from that place of groaning, which is really where lament starts, to get to a point of receiving God - maybe not in the form of a nice explanation or a wonderful deliverance. But you definitely have a greater experience of a larger God.
“The experience of lament is the move from groaning to grace, and everybody needs to know how to get from one point to the other.”
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Explore Among the Ashes, a new film and prayer resource for churches from Open Doors. It looks at how the biblical principle of lament can bring us hope and comfort, even in the darkest situations.
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