Opening for Advent worship – lamentation

I wrote this as part of a longer all-age piece, which never ended up going anywhere. This was intended to be done with 5 teenagers as the readers, and one cantor.

Many churches open worship in Advent with the Advent prose. This takes 3 verses of that and intersperses it with words from the Hebrew scriptures that are a mixture of lamentation and cries for justice.

Doing it online may require recording it ahead of time, as some of the spoken words overlap, and this is difficult to do over Zoom. Each person can record their speaking or singing separately, and then you can mix them together. It can be used for all four Sundays in Advent – even if you’re meeting together in person again after the first – so one bit of work can then pay off for the whole season.

Cantor: Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness

All: drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness

Cantor: Be not wroth very sore, O Lord,

neither remember iniquity for ever:

the holy city is a wilderness:  Sion is a wilderness,  Jerusalem a desolation:

Our holy and our beautiful house where our fathers praised thee.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness

All: drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness

Reader 1: How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

    How long will you hide your face from me?

Prophet 2: Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?

    Awake, do not cast us off forever!

Why do you hide your face?

    Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?

Cantor: Behold, O Lord, the affliction of thy people,

and send forth Him who is to come;

send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth,

from Petra of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion:

that He may take away the yoke of our captivity.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness

All: drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness

Reader 3: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

And are so far from my cries, and from the words of my distress?

Reader 4: A voice is heard in Ramah –lamentation and bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children,

    because they are no more.

Reader 5: On the willows of Babylon, we hung up our harps.

For there our captors asked us for songs,

and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,

    “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

The following overlap, repeating, rising in speed and urgency:

Reader 1: How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever?

Reader 2: Lord, why do you forget our affliction and oppression?

Reader 3: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Reader 4: Lamentation and bitter weeping –

Reader 5: How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

When they finish, silence for a moment.

Cantor: Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, my salvation shall not tarry:

why wilt thou waste away in sadness?

why hath sorrow seized thee?

Fear not, for I will save thee: for I am the Lord thy God,

the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness

All: drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s