Grief, King David, Midway, Ministry of the Meantime

David’s Lamentation

(Thinking about Proper 14, particularly 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33)

It's been too long since I got to sing Sacred Harp music live, with a group, but whenever I think of it, I remember singing "David's Lamentation." Sacred Harp is raw and raucous and just right for expressing the grief of a guilty parent expressed in this week's lectionary passage about King David. The You Tube video below shows a small Sacred Harp group, conducted by an 8-year-old girl, giving the song their all. You won't hear it when they sing through on the syllables, but listen to the whole thing and you will know what I mean.

"David the King was griev-ed and mov-ed. He went to his chamber, his chamber and wept."

I remember the way those words felt coming out of my mouth the first time, syllables and portions of syllables on separate notes. The song feels like grief as process, the movement both emotional and literal as he walks to his chamber.

In the Ministry of the Meantime, there is a lot of grieving and moving, and one of the benefits to the griever-and-mover-in-chief is that it's hard to stay still in your own life when you're encouraging others to move forward in theirs.

This means hard work, sometimes work that makes a person want to weep, at least a little.

There are more things to bid farewell this summer than the church I left recently. There are old patterns and unhelpful habits and outmoded ways of thinking. There are fond dreams that never came to be. There are bad dreams I really don't need to keep having.

I just need to grieve a little, first.

8 thoughts on “David’s Lamentation”

  1. Ah, the arduous work of grief… but singing through grief is indeed a powerful thing. I often turn to “Shape Note” or “Brush Arbor Gospel” or “Sacred Harp” songs when I’m trying to get my courage up to name and wrestle with something hard.
    By the way, if you would like to actually do some more of this type of singing, there are several groups around the state. If you go to Common Ground Fair, there are usually free workshops where they hand out lists of all the groups and where/when they usually sing.

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  2. This is really awesome to listen to after 4 years. I loved singing SH music, but we are in apart of the country where I would have to drive 2 hours there and back to sing. The back is the problem. Especially when SH presents the minor keys is it effective. David’s Lamentation is one of my favorites. I think I’ll call Midland =- maybe they have an all day sing. Thank you for this.

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  3. That made my heart pound.
    ((SB))
    (I love singing Sacred Harp, too, and haven’t done so in a couple of years. There’s a large, very active group in Houston that sings on Sunday afternoons, but I let life crowd it out of my schedule.)

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