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Kyrie eleison

by Simplex Munditiis --

Recently I discovered a song named 'Kyrie Eleison
High AltarImage by Dave Hamster via Flickr
' by Divna Ljubojevic. Though I am no longer religious, I still do enjoy listening to religious music, especially Roman Catholic or Orthodox chants which are arguably even more beautiful now that I am actually listening to the song and not too busy praying at the same time.

But listening to the song I was struck by the realization brought about by the words 'Kyrie eleison'. For those who don't know, Kyrie eleison is Greek for 'Lord have mercy' and forms part of a prayer in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. I was suddenly struck by the question, why do these words even exist? If God is a loving and kind father who seeks only the best for us, then why do the words, much less an entire prayer, that call upon him to have mercy exist? Why should a loving God need to be pleaded for mercy? If God is truly loving then he will not hurt us, no? If all pain and evil derives from Satan or from humans tempted by Satan, then why do we plead to God to have mercy?

If God has a grand plan then there is no need to beg for mercy, for your part in his plan is already chosen. If God does not send us to Hell, if we send ourselves to Hell, then why beg God for mercy? You cannot reconcile a loving God with the phrase 'Kyrie eleison'. What could you possibly plead God for mercy for? Plead him to not be such a loving God? Ask him to be merciful in his wondrous gifts? Strange that this faith has so confused its own followers that they create and follow prayers and songs that contradict one of the fundamental tenants of their faith. They were doing it since its own inception, and they still do it now. If God were truly loving, and never cruel, then the words Kyrie eleison would never have been thought up, let along become an ancient prayer that is common in Orthodox Christianity.

Interestingly, as I finish this, I've just read about how Florida's Dove World Outreach Centre has declared September 11 to be 'Anti-Muslim Day', and they encourage everyone, including other religious groups to burn a Koran to show how they're standing - and I quote - 'against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil'. They are also organizing a protest on August 2 in Gainesville entitled 'No Homo Mayor', due to the current mayor being openly gay.

Hmm, I wonder if the prayer was originally 'Kyriou proskynites eleison', that is, 'Lord's worshippers have mercy'?