An American Lament: A Seven-Week Small Group/Individual Devotional by The Repentance Project
Guiding Thoughts from an FPC Covenant Partner:
This devotional envisions Christians as a “subversive community of hope” in the present-day chapter of American history and offers Scriptural truth at the intersection of American history, Christian lament, and the commission to communion, unity, and reconciliatory witness. The devotional traverses the centuries of slavery, segregation, and racism in our country while inviting Christ as light into the shadows of darkness. The goal of the devotional—weekly prayers, Scripture study, daily reflections, and responses—is that Christians might be transformed by the Spirit not only to grieve but also to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8).
Who would benefit from doing this study? What key questions does it seek to address? This study is for anyone looking to systematically examine the history of race relations in our country in partnership with the Holy Spirit, while learning the Christian call to lament, repent, and pursue healing. A gospel-focused and biblically-informed journey, it would benefit those asking: “How does a person of faith respond realistically to the reality of our history and present-day injustice?”
This devotional is for those who are already in a place of lament and wondering how to move forward, as well as for those who are looking at current events and humbly asking: “Where is this coming from? And what is a biblical response?” The study teaches us to grieve and lament well, but also to pursue active restoration through spiritual rhythms and thoughtful tangible actions.
Keep in Mind: This is not a devotional journey for those who view the racial tension today as a result of unfounded and isolated events leading to uproar. Instead, this is a journey for those who sense a connection between the current moment with the historical legacies of our nation—even if still unsure what the connection is. The goal is not to “convince” anyone of this history or the current injustice in existing systems but merely to shed greater light and to respond in a Christlike and fruitful manner.
Expect to Learn: Practical history, tracing race in America from the slave trade through the Civil War, reconstruction, Jim Crow and modern injustices—while learning how to biblically lament and repent. The rhythm of the weekly study incorporates a “Sunday Feast” that teaches us how to feast in hope of unity, even in the midst of studying and processing the darkness in and around us.
A memorable quote: “Repentance looks like something...true repentance must produce fruit.”
“We must recognize that if it took 400 years to bake racial oppression into our country’s DNA, it didn’t get resolved in the few decades since the civil rights movements. We’ve still got a lot of work to do and the deepest work begins in the heart. The Repentance Project wants to facilitate this work by helping Americans recognize this persistent legacy, repent with sorrow, and respond meaningfully, in the context of relationships.”