Lament: Psalm 22 and Job 23

Here’s a responsive litany of lament based on Psalm 22:1-15 and Job 23:1-9,16-17 – two of the suggested scripture readings for Proper 23 B (the 20th Sunday after Pentecost).  It was written by Jeff Shrowder.

(Psalm 22:1-15 and Job 23:1-9, 16-17)

Job       Then Job answered: “Again today my complaint is bitter;
            his heavy hand increases my groaning.
            If only I knew where I might find him,
            that I might come to his place!

Left      Where are you God, where are you??
            Nothing compares with the pain of your absence.
Right    God, I cry out for you all day, and there is no answer — nothing;
            but at night there is no silence or rest from my inner turmoil.

Job       I would set out my case in front of him,
            and fill my mouth with arguments.
            I would learn what his defense would be,
            and understand his reply to me.

Left      Yet you are holy,
            the praises of your people in every generation are your throne;
Right    those who trusted in you, and whom you delivered;
            those who cried out to you and were not disappointed.

Job       Would he use his great power to debate with me?
            No; but he would hear what I have to say.
            There a sincere person could argue it with him,
            and I should be successful in my case

Left      But in my present circumstance I am not worth calling human,
            rather, I’m the scorn of all humanity, despised by everyone.
            It makes no difference who sees me,
            without exception they curl their lip and shake their head:
Right    “He trusted in the LORD, let the LORD look out for him,
            let the LORD rescue him if he delights in him.”
            It’s as though they know you’re nowhere near.
Left      Yes, you brought me out of the womb,
            and made me safe on my mother’s breasts.
            I was cast on you at birth;
            all my life you have been my God.

Job       If I go east, he is not there;
            and west – I cannot make him out;
            to the north he hides, and I cannot see him;
            I turn to the south, but I cannot look at him.

Right    Don’t be so far away right now;
            there is trouble almost upon me, and no one to help.
            I am surrounded by fearful intimidating strength,
            circling about me, around and around.
Left      I haven’t the strength to withstand their taunts or your absence;
            my body is feeble,
            and the very core of my being has melted like wax.

Job       God has made my heart weak;
            the Almighty has filled me with terror;
            Indeed, I am silenced by the darkness,
            and thick darkness covers my face!
Right    I’ve become paralysed and speechless –
            and you have set me in the dust of death.

~ Copyright © 200, 2012 Jeff Shrowder.  Posted on The Billabong. For use in worship, with acknowledgement.