Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy)

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

God’s children are not called to come before God’s throne with a list of accomplishments, or merits or goodness; they are called, says Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 26, to come with the humility that “…offers nothing but our need for mercy.” Such a cry for mercy comes from our “dying-away of the old self” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 88) which expresses that we are “genuinely sorry for our sin and more and more…hate and run away from it” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 89).

The gifts of renewal and pardon come only “through true faith” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7, Question and Answer 20) and are “gifts of sheer grace, granted solely by Christ’s merits” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7, Question and Answer 21). The very act of faith is to plead for his mercy.


Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy)

Additional Prayers

A Prayer for Mercy
Gracious God, it’s always the same sins. We have sinned the same way over and over, losing our temper, forgetting your grace, silencing our conscience. Like every addict, we have a habit. But you, gracious God, are our higher power, and we need your power this very day, this very hour. Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy upon us. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy)

Tune Information

D Major


Musical Suggestion

The call-and-response format calls for a choir or cantor on the leader’s part, echoed by the congregation. The meditative tone and tempo is enhanced by the alternating texture. Keep the texture simple, with a finger-picked guitar or sustained chords on organ. For an instrumental descant, see Sing! A New Creation Leader’s Edition # 54. 

Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy)

Hymn Story/Background

This song combines the Greek text “Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison” with the English translation “Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy.” This ancient Greek liturgical text was retained by the Roman Catholic Church for more than a thousand years, evn though the rest of their liturgy was in Latin. Singing this text in Greek helps honor the communion of saints—we worship not just here and now, but with the whole church throughout the world and throughout history.

Composer Information

Kathleen Hart Brumm (b. 1958), is a musician and an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America; she studied at both Westminster Choir College and New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She has served parishes both as a musician and as a pastor. This piece was first sung at a Lenten chapel service at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. 

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