“Somber Doesn’t Sell”: Our Lack of Lament

I just came across this great quote on the lack of laments in most Christian worship settings.

Except for denominations committed to singing every psalm in chant, paraphrase, or hymn, contemporary hymnists and hymnals prefer to celebrate God as creator and thank God as liberator rather than to lament to the God who listens. … Perhaps this selection also says something about the theological climate in the mainstream churches in recent decades. Put in commercial terms, in the competitive denominational marketplace of the twenty-first century, somber doesn’t sell. We prefer to sin and repent, lament and die in silent privacy [emphasis added].[1]

For more on reclaiming lament in worship see Calvin Seerveld, “Why We Need to Learn to Cry in Church: Reclaiming the Psalms of Lament,”in Forgotten Songs: Reclaiming the Psalms for Christian Worship


[1] W. Sibley Towner, “Without Our Aid He Did Us Make”: Singing the Meaning of the Psalms,” in A God So Near: Essays on Old Testament Theology in Honor of Patrick D. Miller, ed. Brent A. Strawn and Nancy R. Bowen (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), 33.

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