Pentecost Lament Liturgy
Adapted from this lament by Soong-Chan Rah, author of the book Prophetic Lament.
We find our words cannot match this moment and we are at a loss. So we hold this moment of silence to surrender to our lament, our anger, and our confusion.
Remember, Lord, what has happened to us;
look, and see our disgrace.
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
our homes to foreigners.
We have become fatherless,
our mothers are widows.
Remember, Lord, what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd; look and see how they have been murdered by vigilantes and the police.
They were precious ones, made in Your image. Their deaths have shattered their families and all who loved them.
We must buy the water we drink;
our wood can be had only at a price.
Those who pursue us are at our heels;
we are weary and find no rest.
We submitted to Egypt and Assyria
to get enough bread.
Our prosperity is built upon exploitation.
All our systems benefit the privileged: criminal justice, healthcare, employment, education.
Basic human rights are taken from the needy, including the right to clean water, even the right to breathe.
Our ancestors sinned and are no more,
and we bear their punishment.
We get our bread at the risk of our lives
because of the sword in the desert.
We bear the legacy of slavery and white supremacy.
Black, brown, Asian, Native American, white – none are spared the devastating consequences
Our skin is hot as an oven,
feverish from hunger.
A man is killed while out for a jog
Police shoot a woman as she sleeps in her own home
Police push a man to the ground. He cries out for his mother. He can’t breathe.
We can’t breathe.
Women have been violated in Zion,
and virgins in the towns of Judah.
Princes have been hung up by their hands;
elders are shown no respect.
Young men toil at the millstones;
boys stagger under loads of wood.
The elders are gone from the city gate;
the young men have stopped their music.
Women have been violated throughout our nation’s history
Black men have been hung, lynched and gunned down.
Elders are shown no respect.
Young men can’t find work and are unjustly imprisoned
Civil rights leaders have been assassinated; young people who speak out their protest through music are silenced.
Joy is gone from our hearts;
our dancing has turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head.
Woe to us, for we have sinned!
Because of this our hearts are faint,
because of these things our eyes grow dim
for Mount Zion, which lies desolate,
with jackals prowling over it.
Our triumphant proclamations have turned into a funeral dirge.
Our sense of exceptionalism has been exposed.
This has happened before and will keep happening.
Woe to us, for we see the wrong but refuse to change.
You, LORD, reign forever;
your throne endures from generation to generation.
Why do you always forget us?
Why do you forsake us for so long?
Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return;
renew as that we may find a new way forward.
Read aloud during Church Without Walls’ 2020 Pentecost celebration service on May 31.