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  • Jim Lovelady

Day 22: Kyrie Eleison

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.--2 Corinthians 5:21

Lord have mercy.

Let's do an exercise in prayer. Again and again the Bible offers us a way to express our outrage and sorrow over the evil that is done to us and the evil we commit to others. It takes about 7 minutes to read Lamentations 3 slowly, prayerfully. Press play on Barber's Adagio and start reading and imagine Jesus is with you as you read. Imagine it is Jesus' voice reading this. Imagine the story of Jesus and where he might have said these words. Imagine where you would say these words. Imagine Jesus' posture toward you as you identify the situations in your life that feel like this…

When you finish, sit in silence before your God as you let the song come to an end.

I am the one who has seen the afflictions 

that come from the rod of the Lord’s anger. 

2 He has led me into darkness, 

shutting out all light. 

3 He has turned his hand against me 

again and again, all day long. 

4 He has made my skin and flesh grow old. 

He has broken my bones. 

5 He has besieged and surrounded me 

with anguish and distress. 

6 He has buried me in a dark place, 

like those long dead. 

7 He has walled me in, and I cannot escape. 

He has bound me in heavy chains. 

8 And though I cry and shout, 

he has shut out my prayers. 

9 He has blocked my way with a high stone wall; 

he has made my road crooked. 

10 He has hidden like a bear or a lion, 

waiting to attack me. 

11 He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces, 

leaving me helpless and devastated. 

12 He has drawn his bow 

and made me the target for his arrows. 

13 He shot his arrows 

deep into my heart. 

14 My own people laugh at me. 

All day long they sing their mocking songs. 

15 He has filled me with bitterness 

and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink. 

16 He has made me chew on gravel. 

He has rolled me in the dust. 

17 Peace has been stripped away, 

and I have forgotten what prosperity is. 

18 I cry out, “My splendor is gone! 

Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!” 

19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness 

is bitter beyond words. 

20 I will never forget this awful time, 

as I grieve over my loss. 

21 Yet I still dare to hope 

when I remember this: 

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! 

His mercies never cease. 

23 Great is his faithfulness; 

his mercies begin afresh each morning. 

24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; 

therefore, I will hope in him!” 

25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him, 

to those who search for him. 

26 So it is good to wait quietly 

for salvation from the Lord. 

27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age 

to the yoke of his discipline: 

28 Let them sit alone in silence 

beneath the Lord’s demands. 

29 Let them lie face down in the dust, 

for there may be hope at last. 

30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them 

and accept the insults of their enemies. 

31 For no one is abandoned 

by the Lord forever. 

32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion 

because of the greatness of his unfailing love. 

33 For he does not enjoy hurting people 

or causing them sorrow. 

34 If people crush underfoot 

all the prisoners of the land, 

35 if they deprive others of their rights 

in defiance of the Most High, 

36 if they twist justice in the courts— 

doesn’t the Lord see all these things? 

37 Who can command things to happen 

without the Lord’s permission? 

38 Does not the Most High 

send both calamity and good? 

39 Then why should we, mere humans, complain 

when we are punished for our sins? 

40 Instead, let us test and examine our ways. 

Let us turn back to the Lord. 

41 Let us lift our hearts and hands 

to God in heaven and say, 

42 “We have sinned and rebelled, 

and you have not forgiven us. 

43 “You have engulfed us with your anger, chased us down, 

and slaughtered us without mercy. 

44 You have hidden yourself in a cloud 

so our prayers cannot reach you. 

45 You have discarded us as refuse and garbage 

among the nations. 

46 “All our enemies 

have spoken out against us. 

47 We are filled with fear, 

for we are trapped, devastated, and ruined.” 

48 Tears stream from my eyes 

because of the destruction of my people! 

49 My tears flow endlessly; 

they will not stop 

50 until the Lord looks down 

from heaven and sees. 

51 My heart is breaking 

over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem. 

52 My enemies, whom I have never harmed, 

hunted me down like a bird. 

53 They threw me into a pit 

and dropped stones on me. 

54 The water rose over my head, 

and I cried out, “This is the end!” 

55 But I called on your name, Lord, 

from deep within the pit. 

56 You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading! 

Hear my cry for help!” 

57 Yes, you came when I called; 

you told me, “Do not fear.” 

58 Lord, you have come to my defense; 

you have redeemed my life. 

59 You have seen the wrong they have done to me, Lord. 

Be my judge, and prove me right. 

60 You have seen the vengeful plots 

my enemies have laid against me. 

61 Lord, you have heard the vile names they call me. 

You know all about the plans they have made. 

62 My enemies whisper and mutter 

as they plot against me all day long. 

63 Look at them! Whether they sit or stand, 

I am the object of their mocking songs. 

64 Pay them back, Lord, 

for all the evil they have done. 

65 Give them hard and stubborn hearts, 

and then let your curse fall on them! 

66 Chase them down in your anger, 

destroying them beneath the Lord’s heavens. 

I confess, Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy. Amen.

P.S. Now take a few moments to look at the experience you just had. How did you feel? Where did you go in your mind? What images got stuck in your head? Did anything offend you? Did anything comfort you? Did anything confuse you? Talk about these things with someone. Prayer is meant to conjure things that lead to more conversations that lead to more prayer.

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