REVISITED: The Lament Configuration

Read Psalm 102

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NLT).

It is not often we talk about Lament. Then again, it is not often we talk about pain, suffering, mourning or grief; however, it is an intregal part of the faithful believer’s life. There is no human being alive that does not experience loss, suffering, isolation, pain, grief and sorrow. That is a natural configugration in life, so-to-speak. Heck, there is a lot of material in the Bible dedicated to this configuration, including none other than Lamentation and certainly some of the Psalms.

That is why I was utterly shocked when The Lament Configuration was mentioned in the recent reboot of the 1987 supernatural horror film entitled, Hellraiser, which was originally written and directed by Clive Barker, a British author, based off of Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart.

In this 2022 reboot produced by Hulu, we are introduced to a man Roland Voight, who has lured a young adult male into his club in order to use him as a human sacrifice. No details are given of the arrangement, but one gets that Roland is a very wealthy man with ZERO moral compass. Thus, the young man is brought back into a secret chamber of the mansion to meet Roland.

Upon entering the chamber, he sees a weirdly shaped puzzle box that Roland says he needs him to figure out. Upon doing so, a blade comes out and punctures his hand and all hell breaks loose. These weird creatures from another dimension of reality, we’ll call it hell, come forth and claim the life of Roland’s victim and the screen goes blank.

I am, obviously not going to give much more of the story away, but it is important for you to understand the back story. Following that, a young adult female recovering addict named Riley is introduced, along with her boyfriend Trevor, her brother Matt and his boyfriend Colin. Somehow, again without giving anything away, Riley discovers this mysterious puzzle box that we saw in the beginning of the film. This time it is in the simple shape of a cube.

After accidently opening it and her brother accidentally got cut by it (again, I am not giving too much away), her brother is taken by the Cenobites (the weird hellish creatures). This thrusts Riley on a path to right the wrongs that her opening the box wrought on her family and friends. Her understanding of how to do this is to continuing playing the puzzle box until she can pick, from the Cenobites, the choice of bringing her brother back to life. To do this, she would have to choose the Resurrection configuration.

But after losing more people than I can mention in this film, she realizes that while the Cenobites offer pleasure…their understanding of pleasure is eternal pain. But there is one configuration that, as far as the Cenobites are concerned, is far worse than any other to deal with: The Lament Configuration. Why was this the worst, because instead of testing one’s limits of pleasure and pain, one is choosing to live life, remorseful for the harm they have caused. In other words, the person that chooses the life of lament, they live a tortured existence of guilt and shame until they die.

But here is the key: they die. One can assume, following death there is NO MORE pain; however, their entire life will be lived in the REAL world experiencing guilt, shame and the pain that life brings on. Without giving away anymore of the film away, I possibly flirted a little with giving too much away, the experience of Lament is dealt with in a real, human way. I have never seen it approached in such an apropos way before.

The reality is, like Roland Voight and Riley, we all seek to escape pain and suffering, yet that is such a part of our human experience that we simply cannot escape it. What’s more, God chose NOT to escape it too. That’s right, God chose the Lament Configuration through Jesus Christ, who came to earth as God in the flesh, and who chose to LIVE HIS LIFE, despite the fact that doing so would land him in a Roman court and crucified on the cross. He chose to live a life of suffering and pain for us, so that we might have ABUNDANT and ETERNAL life through him.

Like the characters in the film, we simply have to choose The Lament Configuration over the other things we tend to seek out, such as pleasure, greed, hate, power and other such sinful things. What does that mean? Simple, we choose Jesus Christ and HIS way over our own. Instead of avoiding lament, let us open our hearts to God and lament over our own sins and the evil we sough wrought in this world. Then, through humble repentance and allegiance to Christ, we will be able to move past our human condition and into the Kingdom of God.

“Nothing heals us like letting people know our scariest parts: When people listen to you cry and lament, and look at you with love, it’s like they are holding the baby of you.” – Anne Lamott

Lord, help me to learn to hand my griefs over to you so that, with a pentitent heart, I may be freed from my sins and burdens to serve you and others for the glory of your Kingdom. Amen.

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