Kyr·i·e. noun. A brief responsive prayer used as the first item in the liturgy of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Book, traditionally beginning with the Greek words Kyrie eleison (“Lord, have mercy”). Often set to music and sung by the assembly.
Each time watch the news or read the news online I am stunned by the headlines so often included. Updates on the numbers of new cases of COVID-19, the number of deaths, whether there will be enough hospital beds and will there be a vaccine sooner than later. For many of us, add to those headlines the experiences of our lives. What will happen with jobs, income, will we, should we, send out children back to school?
It is in these times of lament, times when our hearts ache and the tensions rise over what is in front of us, that we may rightly cry out, "Kyrie Eleison!"
I don't know how to respond in the midst of the loss of in-person community. Kyrie eleison!
I miss my friends and the fun we have together. Kyrie eleison!
I miss Holy Communion and worship, together, in our sanctuary. Kyrie eleison!
I wish our government would get its act together. Kyrie eleison!
My family is driving me crazy. Kyrie eleison!
What would you add to the list? What do you want to lay before God? To cry out to God for mercy, for? Kyrie eleison! It's not a cop out, it's what God invites us to do! It's a reminder that God is God and we are not. It's an anchor in the midst of the chaos of our lives. Kyrie (Lord) eleison (have mercy) is our very real, very raw, very authentic cry for a need for grace. It's not a quick fix, but rather an approach to dealing with what life is handing us, and acknowledging that God has named and claimed us and loves us, no matter what. It's a gift from God that gives us hope, that no matter what else is happening, God cares, and though an answer may not be immediately evident, an answer will come.
I don't know about you, but I could learn something about myself by invoking God's mercy more often, instead of just grumbling about things and giving up on finding a solution.
May God's mercy enfold you as you read this article, and throughout the days of your life.
Kyrie eleison. Lord, have mercy.