Coventry

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
bye bye we say this day.
Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
bye bye along your way.

O brothers, all, see how death falls;
let anger be displayed,
and to this child wrapped in a shawl
sing you lully lullay.

Dear sisters, too, might we undo
the violence and dismay
for peace and love to yet break through?
Bye bye lully lullay.

Herod in rage across the age
steals life as though from prey;
his love of pow’r becomes a plague
and God he thus betrays.

Woe to the child and woe to we;
raise our lament today.
May Christ preserve our spirits free,
bye bye lully lullay.

Based on the Coventry Carol and Matthew 2:16. The Coventry Carol came from a series of medieval plays that brought bible stories to life — in this case, the story of the Slaughter of the Innocents. In the play, mothers of the children murdered at Herod’s command sang a last lullaby to their children.

Slaughter of the Innocents

For the children who died by Herod’s word
before they even learned to talk,
O LORD, hear our prayer.

For the boy who will not see his 13th birthday,
O LORD, hear our prayer.

For the girl who never got to hold up 8 fingers to show her age,
O LORD, hear our prayer.

For sons and daughters whose breath is cut off,
for parents and family and friends who shout in mourning,
O LORD, hear our prayer.

For the holy prayers interrupted by gunfire,
O LORD, hear our prayer.

For children who grow up with the story of violent loss,
O LORD, hear our prayer.

For children in public spaces that are not safe,
O LORD, hear our prayer.

For the Child who fled from death so soon after birth,
O LORD, hear our prayer.

For the never-ending slaughter of innocents,
O LORD, hear our prayer
and at long last have mercy.

on Luke 1:66