Liturgy

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child: A 21st Century Worship Resource for Good Friday

Based on Psalm 22, NRSV
Readers and Singers needed

Congregation or Choir:
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long way from home.


Reader One:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Psalm 22:1)
You feel so far away -- certainly not close enough to help
Certainly not close enough to hear my groaning
Where are you in the day when I cry; why don’t you answer?
Where are you in the night when I find no rest; why don’t you answer?

Reader Two:
But God is holy and sits as a sovereign on the praises of Israel
Our parents trusted in God; our ancestors were delivered when they cried
They cried, and God answered and saved
They trusted, and God did not let them feel shame

Reader One:
But I am not my ancestors; I feel less than human
I feel more a worm than a person
All around me I am scorned; all around me I am despised
All who see me mock me; people shake their heads in disdain
I walk away in disgrace


Congregation or Choir:
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long way from home.


Reader Two:
Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver (Psalm 22:8)
God will rescue and delight in you
For it is God who knew you from womb to delivery,
God who watched over you at your mother’s breast,
And when the bottle was in your mouth
Since you were born -- before you were born --
God has been your God


Reader One:
God, do not be far from me,
For trouble is near and there is no one else to help (Psalm 22:11).
People circle me like bulls; angry bulls like the ones of Bashan of old
They open their mouths like lions, roaring and threatening
They threaten me like hungry lions and charging bulls
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint (Psalm 22:14);
My heart melts like wax within me; I am afraid
My mouth is dry with fear; my tongue sticks to my jaw
I am lain in the dust; suicidal and afraid, in the dust of death


Congregation or Choir:
Sometimes I feel like I’m all alone
Sometimes I feel like I’m all alone
Sometimes I feel like I’m all alone
A long way from home.

Reader One:
For "dogs" are all around me; a company of evil people encircles me.
I’ve lost weight; so bone-bare and shrived that I can count my bones
These enemies gloat over me; they divide my clothes and gamble for them.


Reader Two:
But you, O Lord, do not be far away! (Psalm 22:19)
God, come to my aid; Come quickly to deliver me!
Deliver me from people who would kill me
Deliver me from those who act like animals: barking dogs and hungry lions!
Save me!


Reader One:
Rescue me from the horns of wild oxen (Psalm 22:21)
Deliver me from death!
And I will declare your name to my kin;
My friends will know of you also
I will praise you when we gather for worship!


Reader Two:
You who fear the Lord, offer praise! (Psalm 22:23)
Offspring of the covenant, glorify God!
Offspring of Israel, stand in awe!
For God does hear the cry of those afflicted!
God showed God’s face when we pleaded for help.

Congregation or Choir:
Sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone
Sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone
Sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone
Way up in that land.

Reader One:
From God comes my praise in the great congregation;
In the congregation of those who worship, I will worship too!
I will pay the vows that I made among those who stand in awe
The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
And everyone who seeks will praise the Lord! (Psalm 22:26)


Reader Two:
May your hearts live forever! (Psalm 22:26)
Everyone -- all nations flung throughout the world -- everyone will remember God
Everyone -- all families throughout the world -- everyone will turn to the Lord
For power and authority belongs to God; God is the one who rules.


Congregation or Choir:
Sometimes I feel like freedom is near
Sometimes I feel like freedom is near
Sometimes I feel like freedom is near
But so far away.


Reader One:
To God, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; (Psalm 22:29)
All destined to die will live for God.

Reader Two:
Posterity will serve him;
Future generations will hear of God,
And that generation will tell the next generation
Every generation will tell those coming behind them:
God delivers again and again
God has done it again.


Congregation or Choir:
Sometimes I feel like it's close at hand
Sometimes I feel like it's close at hand
Sometimes I feel like it's close at hand
But we're so far from home.


Tony Peterson is an acquisitions editor for Thomas Nelson and a former staff member of Discipleship Ministries.
Valerie Bridgeman, Ph.D., Biblical Studies (Hebrew Bible), teaches preaching, worship, and Hebrew Bible at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, PA.

Source: The Africana Worship Book for Year B. Copyright Discipleship Resources. Used with permission.

Categories: Worship, Worship Planning, Lectionary Calendar, Services and Liturgies, 21st Century Africana, 21st Century Liturgy, Lent - Easter - Holy Week, Holy Week, Holy Week