The Litany of the Old Testament - by James Archer

Printable and editable Word version

A fast forward from the middle of Exodus to the end of the Old Testament in a combination of group mime with narration, chant, lament and prayer. 

 

It should be directed with imagination, and the cast encouraged to think of different ways of expressing the truths set out.  Gabriel acts as lead narrator, supported by David, who starts off as a sort of junior to Gabriel but after the lament is the leader of the people.

 

(Enter Gabriel and David, leading the People)

 

Gabriel   Now Moses led Israel for forty years in the desert, teaching them the law of the Lord.

David     Then Joshua, a mighty warrior in the strength of the Lord, led them into the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and              honey, just as the Lord had promised to Abraham.

Gabriel   But after the death of Joshua, the people did evil in the sight of the Lord.

David     In those days, the people had no leader; everyone did as he saw fit.

Gabriel   They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, and stirred up his anger by worshipping other gods.

David     So the Lord handed them over to their enemies for punishment.

Gabriel   Then the people cried out to the Lord, and he had compassion on them. 

David     He raised up for them leaders who rescued them and taught them.

Gabriel   Gideon and Samson, Saul and Samuel, David and Solomon, Elijah and Elisha.

David     But when the leader died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers.

Gabriel   These are the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

David     Jeroboam reigned in Samaria for 19 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Nadab succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 2 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Baasha succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 24 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Elah succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 2 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Zimri succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 7 days.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Omri succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 12 years.

People    He did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than all those before him.

Gabriel   And Ahab succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 22 years.

People    He did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than all those before him.  With Jezebel his wife, he killed the prophets of the                  Lord and taught the people to worship Baal.

Gabriel   And Ahaziah succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 2 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Joram succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 13 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Jehu succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 28 years.

People    He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.

David     What?!!!  Are you sure?

People    Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord with all his heart.

Gabriel   And Jehoazam succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 17 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Jehoash succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 16 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Jeroboam succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 41 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Zechariah succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 6 months.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Shallum succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 1 month.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Menachem succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 10 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Pekahiah succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 2 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Pekah succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 20 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   And Hoshea succeeded him as king.

David     He reigned for 9 years.

People    He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Gabriel   Then the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried the Israelites into exile.

David     All this took place because the Israelites had sinned.

Gabriel   Nineteen kings, and nothing good to say about eighteen of them.  No wonder!

People    (Unaccompanied lament, sung to the tune in Songs & Hymns of Fellowship.  Started by David who joins the people at                  this stage as their leader, with the others joining in, perhaps then going into a round, repeated several times) 

By the waters, the waters of Babylon,

We sat down and wept, and wept, for you Zion.  

We remember, we remember, we remember you Zion.

Gabriel   This is what the Lord says, he who formed you, o Israel:

People    Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.

Gabriel   You have burdened me with your sins, and wearied me with your offences.

People    Do not treat us as our sins deserve.

Gabriel   Return to me, and I will return to you.

People    Have mercy on us, o Lord, according to your unfailing love.

Gabriel   Love the Lord your God with all your heart.

People    Create in us clean hearts, o God.

Gabriel   I will take away your hearts of stone and give you hearts of flesh.

People    And renew a right spirit in us.

Gabriel   And I will pour out my Spirit on my people.

People    We rejoice to walk in your truth.

Gabriel   Here is my chosen one, in whom I delight.

People    Teach us your holy ways, o Lord.

Gabriel   He will ransom and redeem my people.

People    And lead us in paths of peace.

Gabriel   And the glory of the Lord will be seen in Zion.

People    How long, o Lord, until you fulfil your promise to Israel? 

Gabriel   A voice of one calling in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord”

People    (Unaccompanied joyful singing, led by David, during which he and the people process off.  The music for the song is in             Songs & Hymns of Fellowship.  Exit Gabriel separately while they are singing.) 

In the presence of your people I will praise your name,

For your name is exalted high on the praises of Israel. 

I will celebrate your goodness and your steadfast love. 

May your name be exalted here on earth and in heaven above.