Helen Rose Pauls spoke on the theme of Lamenting. Just as we accept the changeability of our west coast weather, so too we need to learn to face and accept life’s changeability. Many Psalms face life’s challenges fully and frankly. Psalm 137, for example, recalls the horrors of the destruction of Jerusalem, its siege and the resulting famine, Solomon’s temple vanishing, the Jewish upper class and its intellectuals being enslaved, and Israel’s neighbours helping Babylonian soldiers capture escaping Jews. Adding insult to injury, years later their captors were taunting Jewish slaves who were known to love music and joyful dancing, forcing them to perform on call. Psalm 137.7-9 calls for retribution, expressing a deep desire for bloody revenge, both on the Babylonians and on the Edomites: ‘we wish you were dead!’. The Book of Lamentations looks at these emotions more fully, for they are an important part of life to so many people. Do today’s churches have services which assist people who are lamenting? What about believers who sense that life is all downhill from here? After all, there is seldom a a quick fix for life’s adversities (poor health, broken relationships). Singing only happy music is of no more use to our friends today than it was during the Babylonian captivity. What should we do as some of our oldest believers yearn for death because their wasteland is so discouraging. Helen Rose reminded us that although good and bad come to each of us, God is always with us. We can open our hearts to him, even if we cannot sing our happy songs. “The Lord is near . . . do not fear for anything” (Philippians 4.5-7).