Photo by MartinStr

The free-form poem “Kyrie” functioned as the script for a 1:11 production of the same name. It will be included in the upcoming book PIECES OF GRACE, a compilation of poems, short stories, and devotional narratives to be released in 2016.

And God said, Of every tree in the garden you may eat, but of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

And we ate, and we knew evil, and we did surely die.
In the day that we ate of it, division.
In the day that we ate of it, strife.
In the day that we ate of it, selfishness.
In the day that we ate of it, pride.

And every day that we sin,
you and I,
we eat again. We know evil by association.
We know good in hints and snatches, by neglect, and by longing.

And in this world of pain and toil,
Of Auschwitz, Rwanda, Killing Fields,
In this world of envy and of hate,
We still feel the wind in the leaves of Eden.
Lord, have mercy.

From Eden to Egypt, our cry remains
Lord, hear us; have mercy;
On thy people Israel, on Pharaoh’s slaves.
Have mercy.

Hundreds of years
Books of prophecy, promises of God
Your prophets call us home, though still we wander
Far from mercy, far from You.

Hundreds of years.
Books of prophecy.
Moses, Isaiah, freedom, bondage,
Needing always, every night, every day,
Needing You.
Needing mercy,
not just some intangible idea,
not just a pardon on a heavenly scroll.
Needing a hand we can hold.
Needing to walk as we did in the garden.

And God said, “A virgin shall conceive, and shall bring forth a Son.
And you shall call His name Immanuel, for He shall free His people from their sins.
And you shall call Him God
With us.”

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Jesus’ hands heal
We touch your mercy.
He opens the way,
We see your mercy.
He is your mercy
He is your grace
Walking among us, a life-giving tree
Tree of good, not of evil.
Trees . . .

One tree still awaits,
One tree still to make its mark.
One branch slashing across a bloody trunk.
Unholy tree, knowledge of evil.
For we ate,
We knew good and evil,
And God Himself will surely die.

And God said, of every tree in the garden you may eat, but of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.
And it was as God said it would be.
And God climbed the tree and cried, It is finished.
And God said, Believe.
And God said, Mercy I give you.
I give you forgiveness
Earned at an awesome price.
Welcome, children, to the garden.
Welcome home.

* * *


Kyrie Eleison. The words are Greek and mean “Lord, have mercy”; they’ve been sung by Christians the world over since the earliest centuries of the church. The Kyrie, which is usually sung in threes as an allusion to the Trinity, perfectly expresses the central need of mankind. The Bible declares that “there is none righteous, no, not one,” and that because of our personal failure to live as we should, we are eternally separated from our Creator and Judge.

But God has offered us mercy in the person of His Son. Paul tells us that Jesus “was delivered to death for our offences, and raised again for our justification”—to cleanse us before God and place us back into relationship with Him.

On our part, God asks that we turn from our sin and attempts to live without Him, trust in the blood of His Son to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and go on to live by grace—in relationship with our Father in heaven.

Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” In the end, that is what Kyrie eleison is all about: knowing God because God wants us to know Him; loving Him because He first loved us.






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