And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Exodus 33:19
Kyrie Eleison is Greek for “Lord, Have Mercy.” There are 19 places in the entire Bible where this phrase or a version of it is used. We can approach our Father God with this prayer, confident He will hear us and have mercy. He gave us His word on that in Moses’ Book of the Exodus.
It’s also the title of a hit song from the 80’s by a group called “Mr. Mister.” I hadn’t thought of it in a long time. I recently, and randomly, thought of it and started wondering just what all of the lyrics are. YouTube is the best place to find just about anything in video, and sure enough, there was the official studio video, official live video at the Ritz in New York City, and several other postings by fans.
Reading the lyrics as I listened, I was struck by just how beautiful those lyrics are and just how accurate they are. For those of you who already know the song, please indulge me. For those who have never heard it before, here’s my “primer” on it for you:
The wind blows hard against this mountain side / Across the sea into my soul / It reaches into where I cannot hide / Setting my feet upon the road
The wind? That’s the Holy Spirit, who brings us to faith in God. He doesn’t always get through to us easily, but He doesn’t give up, even though He blows against the hardened side of our mountain barrier.
He will show each of us who we really are, what we need forgiveness from. There are no secret sins when the Holy Ghost comes to us. But once those skeletons in our closet are dealt with, well, that is just the beginning of a new life on a new road. The new road is one where we act better than we have before knowing God. It’s a road with purpose in charity to others.
My heart is old it holds my memories / My body burns a gem-like flame / Somewhere between the soul and soft machine / Is where I find myself again
You can have an old heart regardless of your years. Maybe sin has weighed you down, wrinkled your soul with grief and guilt. But, just as the Holy Spirit manifested to the original apostles as tongues of flame over each one’s head, so our souls catch flame in the purifying love of God, thanks to Jesus’ saving sacrifice. There is more than one way to look at this line, neither of which excludes the other.
- Fire is often used as a symbol of purification. The Bible uses this analogy several times.
- Fire also produces light. Once we have accepted the faith, grace, and mercy of God, we become a light to all around us.
Having God’s forgiveness does not mean we will lead perfect and carefree lives. Jesus warns all followers of all times that He was persecuted by the world, so we should expect no less. People will bully and abuse us, and Satan will continue to tempt us away from God, if possible. Our souls yearn for God, but our bodies, those soft machines, are not firm against sin. They are not solid against death.
We exist somewhere in between our soul and soft machine as the spiritual pulls us toward God and our desire to be perfect as He would have us be, and the body pulls us toward sin, where Satan wants to destroy us. That is where we live and struggle to resist falling away from God.
When I was young I thought of growing old / Of what my life would mean to me
We always wonder when young what the future will bring. We usually dream of success in marriage, family, and career/money
Would I have followed down my chosen road / Or only wished what I could be
Now that I’m old, now that my choices have been made, can I look back and say I’m glad of my life? Or am I grieved over a life wasted? Am I on the right road or have I blown it?
*CHORUS* – Kyrie Eleison Down the road that I must travel Kyrie Eleison Through the darkness of the night Kyrie Eleison Where I’m going will you follow Kyrie Eleison On a highway in the night
We all have regrets, either over the road we’ve chosen or over some of the – lane changes? – while on our road. Even the best of lives contain sin and the resulting regrets. All we can do is to cry out, “Lord have mercy!” And it’s never too late to change roads!!
But here’s the real trick. We don’t just cry out in regret, but also in hope! Prayer and God’s strength are a preventative and not just a cure! We cry out for His mercy and protection as we move along the road that we must certainly travel, whether due to our own bad choices or simply the trials of being on the right road toward God. Even in the darkness of this world we can call out for His light and be guided. And it is definitely dark; much darker than most of us suspect, I fear.
Finally, Jesus asks us if we are willing to follow where He goes on the highway in this current night. Hopefully, prayerfully, I trust we will respond –
Watch the concert video on YouTube.
For those who remember this song, I hope your enjoyed this walk down memory lane. For the youngsters, what can I say? Enjoy the song! And don’t hold leisure suits against the entire decade, ok?