Kyrie Eleison: A lament for these days

‘Times are troubled… people grieve…’

Back in January 2021, as the first news pictures came in of the storming of the Capitol building in Washington DC, something started to surface in Sarah Hay, one of the Northumbria Community leaders. It was the words and driving drum beat of a song sung in early Community that started to resonate in her heart. When she shared this song, the power of it began to rise up in others too, as a hugely poignant cry of lament for these troubled times.

Kyrie eleison, Christe Eleison; Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.

We dreamt it would provide a gathering – and ‘joining in’ – place for those across our Northumbria Community network. 

A place of lament and resonance 
in these strange, disturbing and difficult days. 
A means of calling forth who we are, and are meant to be, 
as creatives, dreamers, edge-walkers, followers of Christ. 
Acknowledging the pain, asking for mercy 
and, through intentional vulnerability, 
learning more of how to share the road together: 
singers, dancers, creative artists of all kinds 
bringing who they are to construct 
a beautiful reflection of God’s heart, 
for such a time as this. 

From that early memory of voice and drum a powerful, new, multi-voiced, multi-language rendition of Kyrie Eleison – written by Jodi Page-Clark of The Fisherfolk – emerged. 

Over the course of two months, Martin Neil, a long-time Companion in Community, worked from his ‘shed’ in Wales, to bring together voices, photographs, creative art, percussion, film clips, dance, translations and prayers from around 80 people across the worldwide dispersed Northumbria Community network.  Many more who got in touch, but who were unable to participate at this time, elected to pray alongside.

The result is a beautiful, poignant rendition of a song which feels very ‘Northumbria Community’!

READ MARTIN’S STORY HERE – From a Shed in Wales…

Jodi Page-Clark was originally commissioned to write ‘Kyrie Eleison’ by the leadership of the Community of Celebration, for an Arts in Worship festival in Oxford, UK, which they were leading. Copyright for the song is held by the Community of Celebration. You can find out more about their life, work, story and resources HERE.

What is a lament?

The laments in the books of Psalms and Lamentations are all an expression of grief, but they are also an expression of hope. They are an insistence that things cannot remain this way and they must be changed. Such prayers are partly an address to God, but they are also a communal resolve to hang in and take transformative action. Unless that kind of grief and rage and anger is put to speech, it can never become energy. So I believe the transformative function of such prayers is that it transforms energy and rage into positive energy.

Walter Brueggemann

A means of calling forth who we are, and are meant to be as creatives, dreamers, edge-walkers, followers of Christ…