In Luke 18:9 we read a parable of Jesus in which he tells of the worship style of the Pharisees. Then in contrast he tells the words of a tax collector who stood far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me….” Jesus says that this man went back to his house justified with God, for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.
The Kyrie opens the heart to Christ. From our human vantage point it is the most important thing we say–or sing–all morning. Funny that in many churches, including Lutheran churches, the Kyrie is left out. At Easter we might leave it out, but as a rule the Kyrie is like our “ready position”, like a batter’s stance. We begin from here: Lord, have mercy.
George Herbert’s life reminds us that words matter. Words have power to shape our thought, move us emotionally, carry the culture of a people, and even direct our hearts to God.
such a way as gives us breath;
such a truth as ends all strife,
such a life as killeth death.
such a light as shows a feast,
such a feast as mends in length,
such a strength as makes his guest.
such a joy as none can move,
such a love as none can part,
such a heart as joys in love.