THE SETTING is a pitch black stage. ME is standing center stage with VOICE 1 slightly behind to stage left and VOICE 2 slightly behind to stage right.
NARRATOR: [offstage] Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.
ME: [in despair] How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness!
VOICE 2: [encouragingly] Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
VOICE 1: [to ME] That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you, why it is so dark you cannot see, and why a flood of water covers you.
VOICE 2: Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
VOICE 1: See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples…
VOICE 2: [to ME] …but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
VOICE 1: [to VOICE 2] But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals and covered us over with deep darkness.
ME: [to VOICE 2] You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend.
VOICE 1: [to ME] He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; he has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead. [to VOICE 2] So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
VOICE 2: I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
ME: Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death.
VOICE 2: Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light.
VOICE 1: But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
ME: Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.
VOICE 2: See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.
ME: You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
VOICE 1: The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.
VOICE 2: A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light.
VOICE 1: It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.
VOICE 2: [harshly, to VOICE 1] Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. [gently, to ME] The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.
ME: I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
VOICE 2: The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
ME: Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies – make straight your way before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit. Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
VOICE 2: Follow me.
NARRATOR: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains.