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A Reflection from Pastor Wendy Kalan

Kyrie eleison.

These are the Latin words for “Lord, have mercy.” We sing various tunes to these words in Latin or in English in Sunday worship. As of late, the tune we sing at worship is hopeful and lively:

Kyrie eleison, on our world and on our way. Kyrie eleison, every day.

It feels like we are living déjà vu. Certainly, that is so with the rise in COVID cases with the Delta variant. Hospitalizations are rising sharply, getting closer to matching the numbers of the earlier days. We all would like to move on, but reality tells us otherwise. Kyrie eleison.

Last week, there was another earthquake in Haiti where nearly 1300 have died. Though the quake of January 2010 was over a decade ago, the reminder of the incredible loss of life and destruction surges up in me like a long, lost aftershock. I had five friends from seminary serving on mission trips in Haiti that January 12, 2010. One of my friends, a seminary student not even yet 30, perished under the rubble. Another friend shared her experience of wandering the streets after the earthquake and staying in tent shelters for days until help came. She expressed that in the waiting, she craved her own death as much as survival. That was just a pinprick of what it felt like to be a Haitian then and now. Kyrie eleison.

Due to extreme heat, large forest fires have raged and darkened the Western skies with smoke that irritates the throat and eyes. This is not limited to our continent. As of today, nearly 10 million acres of land are burning in Siberia. Imagine the destruction of natural habitat and homes and the endless chore of fighting the fires. And scientists wonder how might this affect the atmosphere of the entire planet. Kyrie eleison.

In Afghanistan, after years of fighting extremists and establishing a democratic government, many are fleeing due to the Taliban’s overthrowing current leadership. Many are fleeing and fearful of retaliation. The hard work of the people and American troops seem to have been in vain. Kyrie eleison.

It is hard to find hope in such days as these, and so we cry, Lord, have mercy. Ease the suffering. Raise up those who will lead with justice and compassion. Protect the vulnerable. Carry your world into your future and into your kingdom. Help us to remember and live into Christ’s life-saving promises and the reminder that through his life, death and resurrection, we know death and destruction do not have the last word.

Even so, Kyrie eleison, on our world and on our way. Kyrie eleison, everyday.

Open our hearts to have compassion like You for all the suffering.

Move us toward action that reflects your mercy. Amen.


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