The power of lament

As an ecologist, I studied the effects of climate change on the boreal forests of Alaska and Siberia. Recent climate change at sites like this one, in the Alaskan Brooks Range, is affecting these forests — changing patterns of tree growth and distribution in ways that matter for local species and for the global climate system. As a Christian, a preacher, and a future pastor, climate change continues to be a matter of deep concern. To love my neighbors – human and non-human alike – and to care for the most vulnerable among us is to care about climate change.

The sermon linked below brings those threads – ecologist and Christian, scientist and preacher – together to wonder about harnessing the power of lament.

On November 17, 2021, I had the privilege of preaching my ‘senior sermon’ in Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School. The sermon reflects on the words of the prophet Hosea – in particular, his insistence, in the 4th Chapter of Hosea, that the land mourns. What does it mean for the land to mourn? What truths is the land’s grief speaking to the people in Hosea’s time? What truths does the land’s grief speak to us in ours?

The sermon text can be downloaded below. A video of the sermon can be found on the Sermons pages of this website.


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