United Church of Christ

Good Friday Reproaches - Morley

By Janet Morley, from All Desires Known
Published by Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, PA
© Janet Morley 1988, 1992
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The Reproaches is a litany traditionally said or sung on Good Friday,
 as people “venerate” or honor, or meditate on, the Cross. 
The litany is a dialogue between a God sorrowing over the sins and destructiveness of the people, and a people asking God for mercy.
For much of Church history, The Reproaches had anti-Semitic  content, blaming the Jewish people for the death of Jesus. Janet Morley’s re-working
recasts this prayer, and invites all of humanity into contemplation of the violence we do against one another, creation, and our holy, grieving, God.

Holy God,
Holy and strange,
Holy and intimate,
have mercy on us

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.

I brooded over the abyss,
With my words I called forth creation:
But you have brooded on destruction,
And manufactured the means of chaos.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.

I breathed life into your bodies,
And carried you tenderly in my arms:
But you have armed yourselves for war,
Breathing out threats of violence.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.

I made the desert blossom before you,
I fed  you with an open hand:
But you have grasped the children’s food,
And laid waste the fertile lands.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.

I abandoned my power like a garment,
Choosing your unprotected flesh:
But you have robed yourselves in privilege,
And chosen to despise the abandoned.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.
 
Holy God,
Holy and strange,
Holy and intimate,
Have mercy on us.

I would have gathered you to me as a lover,
And shown you the ways of peace:
But you have desired security,
And you would not surrender your self.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.

I have torn the veil of my glory,
Transfiguring the earth:
But you have transfigured my beauty,
And turned away your face.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.

I have labored to deliver you,
as a woman delights to give life:
But you have delighted in bloodshed,
And labored to bereave the world.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.

I have followed you with the power of my spirit,
To seek truth and heal the oppressed:
But you have been following a lie,
And returned to your own comfort.

O my people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.
 
Holy God,
Holy and strange,
Holy and intimate,
Have mercy on us.

Genesis 1; Genesis 2:7; Psalm 22:9-10; Psalm 104: 28; Isaiah 35: 1;  46: 3-4; 53: 1-4;
Matthew 27: 51: Luke 13:34; 19: 41-44; John 16: 20-22

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