Let Not the Needy Be Forgotten

Let Not The Needy Be Forgotten
© 2017 Bret Hesla.

Ref: Let not the needy be forgotten.
And let not the hope of the poor be stripped away.

1. The victims of war
The refugees pouring in
The kidnapped and trafficked girls
The families torn apart

2. Pray what is the task
For people of faith when those
Who flee for their lives
Arrive to permanent second class?

3. How great is the breach,
The fault line through every town
A wound not allowed to heal
Corroding the ties that bind.

4. Communities thrive
When those who are safe take risks
For those under threat and fear.
To make sanctuaries bloom.

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
© 2017 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Licensed via OneLicense.net, Contact: Bret.hesla@gmail.com

I got the idea for this lament on human suffering from an adult forum I led in 2016 on the question, “What hymns do we need that are currently missing as we consider climate change?” Many folks were connecting the crisis of the broken earth and the crisis of human oppression. One suggested this text, from Psalm 9:18: “Let not the needy be forgotten; nor the hope of the poor be taken away.” That comment led to this song. I added verses with themes of specific human need that I see in 2017, the oppression of recent immigrants here in the U.S, the desparate need for sanctuary. Some of us need sanctuary, some of us can provide it. Here’s hoping we can join together and all be healed.

The long vocal dance on the word “away” is the heart of this lament, and gives your congregation a relatively rare opportunity to sing like that. Guitar and/or piano are appropriate for accompanying. The entire song can be sung by a congregation, but another option would be to have only the refrain sung by the congregation and the verses sung by soloists or a choir. You could also use the refrain only (without verses), alternating a sung refrain by the congregation with short spoken segments, or prayers, specific to your current situation.

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