The worship service for a person not familiar with liturgical worship may seem very confusing but to the “insider” there is a rhyme and reason.
As the service opens, it always starts with confession and forgiveness rather than praise as we are beginning to focus our attention on the service that is to unfold and we know we have not been perfect the week before. The pastor pronounces forgiveness and welcomes us into worship.
A gathering hymn opens the service and then there is a part called “Kyrie Eleison,” or the Kyrie. This is a tradition tracing back to the beginning of Christianity. Kyrie is Greek for Lord. Kyrie Eleison means “Lord have mercy”. Pope Gregory the Great added a second part in the sixth century, “Christe Eleison,” Christ have mercy. We bring to God all the things that weigh heavy on our heart and distract us from worship. Often it is chanted in a leader, congregation call and response, like this: (after each phrase sung by the leader, the congregation chants “Lord have mercy.”)
In peace let us pray to the Lord,
For the peace from above and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord,
For the peace of the whole world and for the wellbeing of the church of God and the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord
For this holy house and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.
Help, save, comfort and defend us Gracious Lord,
As I watch the news and the war unfolding in Ukraine, this portion of the worship service seems very poignant to me today. The YouTube clip is a worship song created by Vineyard that expands on the thoughts and prayers of the Kyrie Eleison. Please listen and prepare for worship tomorrow. Enjoy and be blessed.