I will put my law within them

Choral reading of Jeremiah 31:31-34

by Ken Sehested
Introduction: Choral readings (this one for five voices) are an effective way to enrich and dramatize the hearing of biblical texts in worship. See preparation instructions at bottom.

The days are surely coming,    [1]

says the Lord,   [all]

when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  [1]

A new covenant.   [2, 3]

A new covenant with the People of Blessing   [all]

It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors   [2]

when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—   [3]

a covenant that they broke,   [4, 5]

though I was their lover,  [1, 2]

says the Lord.    [all]

But this is the covenant   [2]

THIS is the covenant   [3, 4]

This is THE covenant   [all]

that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,   [2]

says the Lord:   [all]

I will put my law within them,   [4]

and I will write it on their hearts.   [1]

Write it on our hearts!   [1, 2, 3]

Write it on our hearts!   [all]

and I will be their God,   [1]

our God   [all]

and they shall be my people.   [1]

God’s people.   [all]

No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other,   [2]

"Know the Lord,"   [2, 4]

“Know the Lord,”   [all]

for they shall all know me,   [1]

from the least of them to the greatest,   [2]

says the Lord;   [all]

for I will forgive   [4]

I will forgive   [4, 5]

I will forgive their iniquity,   [all]

and remember their sin no more.   [1]

Remember their sin no more!   [all]

                         #  #  #

Instructions for preparation

For the leader

      •Print a copy for each reader, and number them. Then use a highlighter for each script, according to that readers’ lines (per the numbers following each line).

      •Put a check mark at the bottom of the page if that reader has a line coming first on the subsequent page, to alert them.

      •You can reduce or increase the number of voices—adjust the numbering of each line as appropriate.

      •To begin the first practice, read the first dozen or so lines for the group, to give them a sense of the pace.

      •It’s important that the readers practice this together several times to synchronize the rhythm.

     •Make sure readers know how to pronounce some of the unusual names.

For the readers

      •Speak up and out!—a bit more loudly, and a bit more slowly, than your normal conversational volume and pace.

      •Enunciate each word.

      •Aim your voice so that the person sitting farthest from you can hear and understand.

     •Pause a half-beat at the commas, a full beat at the periods.

      •Practice saying any words that are unusual.

©ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org