Summary: A conversation between Jeremiah, God and a member of the congregation. In which God laments the falling away of His people, but offers a remedy.
Scripture: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Style: Dramatic.         Duration: 10min
Actors: 2M, 1F/M


J (Jeremiah)
G (God)
M (member of the congregation)


J: The earth is scorched with the fires of avarice. The creation has betrayed its creator.

G: Say to the people, O Jeremiah, these words:
Your sins are many. Your pain is incurable. Your guilt cannot be measured. You have betrayed the covenant. Lost your way in the world, choosing other gods. Your weaponry. Your palaces. Your indifference to the poor. Your pollution of the earth.

J: Is this the final hour? The time of our recompense? You should have warned us.

G: I did. Did you not listen? Say it again, Jeremiah:
Woe to those who build houses by injustice. Who make their neighbors work for nothing, and do not give them their wages. You have shed innocent blood, and practiced oppression and violence.”

J: Heal us, O God, and we shall be healed. Save us, and we shall be saved.

G: Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there?

J: Heal us, O God, and we shall be healed. Save us, and we shall be saved.

G: Everyone is greedy for unjust gain. They have treated the wounds of my people with indifference, saying ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.

 J: Will there ever be peace?

G: There can be no peace without justice. Hear the weeping of the women. Tell them, Jeremiah:
“Hear, O women, the word of God. Teach your daughters a dirge, and to her neighbor a lament. ‘Death has come up into our windows, it has entered our palaces, to cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the squares. Speak! Thus says the Lord; “Human corpses shall fall like dung upon the open field, like sheaves behind the reaper, and no one shall gather them.
A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children, she refuses to be comforted because her children are no more.”

J: Heal us, O God, and we shall be healed. Save us, and we shall be saved.

G: Who will listen? Their ears are closed.

J: Heal us, O God, and we shall be healed. Save us, and we shall be saved.

G: My joy is gone, grief is upon me. For the hurt of my people, I am hurt. O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people.

 J: How long must this go on?

G: You have the answer in your hands. In your hearts. In your children. In your elders. Listen to them. Read your history books. Read the newspapers. Read between the lines and hear the cries of my people.

M: It is Lent.

G: It is indeed.

M: A time to reflect.

G: A time to examine the heart.

M: A time to follow Jesus.

G: Where do you think the story goes?

M: To the cross. I am afraid.

G: Exactly.

M: To the tomb.

G: I have seen death before.

M: We are afraid of it.

G: Are you really? Then why is it on every page of your papers? Why is there no end to it? Why is there no peace?

M: Maybe you would know.

G: Maybe I would. Jeremiah did. And Isaiah. And even David, my beloved warrior, poet, lover, king. With all his discordant harmonies and broken Hallelujahs. He knew. It was in his song. In the songs of praise and the songs of lament. One cannot exist without the other. The weeping underlies the hope. Point. Counterpoint. Peace is found in the pauses between the beats. Where you catch your breath.

M: Would you sing it for us again?

G: Would you listen if I did? I’ll say it again. The same way I taught it to Jeremiah:
“The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness. I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again you shall take your tambourines, and go forth in the dance. Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria. I am going to gather them from the farthest corners of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labour. Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance. I will turn their mourning into joy.”

M: A dance, then. A song. Rising from the embers of despair. I could learn a few steps to that one. Maybe the whole world could learn it.

G: The days are coming when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I make with their ancestors, a covenant which they broke. But this is the covenant that I will make: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be my people.

M: A new covenant.

G: A new covenant. A new beginning.

M: It is Lent.

G: It is indeed.

M: A time to reflect.

G: A time to examine the heart.

M: A time to follow Jesus.

G: To the cross. Don’t forget.

M: To the tomb. I haven’t forgotten.

G: To a new covenant.

M: With one another.

G: With all my people.

M        With creation.

G: With its Creator.

M: With you.

G: With life.


Written by Jim Hatherly

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