Send Lazarus

Send Lazarus – words by David Ervin, music by Chris Hutchings

Free for fundraising or other non-commercial use (including church services). For any commercial use (ticketed concerts or CD recordings, etc.), please contact Chris Hutchings for permission.

This is an SATB choir piece in the style of a spiritual (also available a tone lower for ATBarB). It’s fairly easy, with no divisi, and low ranges. There are some key changes but they are carefully voiced so as not to be overly difficult. Based on the story of the rich man and poor man in the gospel of Luke, reworked by David Ervin into a climate change parable.

Download SATB music (.pdf, Creative Commons license)
Download ATBarB music
Download lead sheet / chords and melody
(the chords-only version is only really suitable for piano/keyboard instruments unless you’ve got a very skilled guitar player)

Listen to a virtual choir recording

Watch a video with the score below:

If you’re performing this piece, please let us know! Tag me in a tweet (@hutchingsmusic), or send an email (link above).

If you’d like a version in a higher key, send an email and I’d be happy to arrange this. Piano or organ reduction available on request.

Full lyrics:

Oh God, send Lazarus
To cool my burning tongue.
Oh God send Lazarus
I’ve lived too large too long.
Send Lazarus
Although I’ve scorned him
All along…

Oh God, send Lazarus
‘Cross chasm dark and wide
Oh God Send Lazarus,
To ev’ry heart confide
Send Lazarus
To set their fateful ways aside.

But why, my friend,
should they hear,
Lazarus’s song?
Oh why, my friend,
when they’ve heard
Crying for so long?
Crying for so long?

They’ve heard…
Moses and the prophets
Ocean level’s rising
And warming by the day
Moses and the Prophets
Flooding and tsunamis
And coral reef decay
Moses and the prophets
Melting of the tundra
Pandemic and disease
Moses and the prophets
fires ever burning
White smoke upon the breeze
And no one ever, really sees.

Moses and the prophets
Hurricane destruction,
With loss of human life.
Moses and the Prophets,
Coastal devastation,
And relocation strife.
Moses and the prophets
Weather out of season,
Drought, polluted air.
Moses and the prophets
Habitat depletion,
Extinction and despair.
And no one ever seems to care…

Oh God, send Lazarus
To cool my burning tongue.
Oh God, send Lazarus
I’ve lived too large too long.
Send Lazarus
Although I’ve scorned him
All along.

The origin of the words is from the Bible excerpt below:

Luke 16:19-31 New International Version (NIV): The Rich Man and Lazarus

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

In the story “Moses and the prophets” represents all of the warnings of scripture as a whole. I have reinterpreted it as the warnings of science. – David Erwin

This is a collaboration that started on the Choirs for Climate facebook group – join us if you’d like to create music with us!