“Sarah’s Burden”

My friend John snapped a few dozen images at rehearsal last night, including this one of the very earliest songs written, “Sarah’s Burden.” Her household’s maids deliver a shrill rebuke in the song previous to this one (Tobit 3:7-9). The demon lurks, unseen to the characters. In considering suicide, Sarah’s response is adapted from Tobit 3:11-15:

I am the demon who has killed them all, they say,
But there is no joy in my innocence.
My heart is weighed down by these seven senseless deaths:
bridegrooms strangled in my marriage bed.

But suicide is not the path for me to seek.
My father would remain to bear the shame,
To shoulder burdens I would rather cast aside.
I would rather, God, you take my life.

Blest are you, my God of mercy, forever honored is your holy name.
May all your works forever bless and praise you.
Lord, refuse me not!

There is no man for me upon this earth to wed,
No married joy than I can ever claim.
I beg, O Lord, for you to take my wretched life;
Deliver me from all this shame.


But if it please you, Lord, to spare your servant’s life,
Then look with favor upon my plight.
Cast off the darkness that envelops all my hope:
These demons and these insults put to flight.

Blest are you, my God of mercy, forever honored is your holy name.
May all your works forever bless and praise you.
Lord, refuse me not!

 Tobit 3:16-17 suggests Tobit was praying (3:2-6) at the same time. So his final refrain is repeated simultaneously with Sarah’s, from opposite ends of the performing area.

And now, O Lord, may you be mindful of me,
and look with favor upon me.
And now, O Lord, to you I turn my face and raise my eyes.
Lord, refuse me not!

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Parish Life, Scripture, Tobit, Todd's music. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Sarah’s Burden”

  1. crystal says:

    Sad part of the story, asking God to just let it be over. God came up with a better answer :)

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