From the Pastor’s desk...
“Aurora and praying the Kyrie”
Dear friends in Christ,
When composer William Schuman and his wife visited the Le fosse Ardeatine (the Ardeatine caves) Memorial on a trip through Italy in 1967 . He was moved to write his 9th Symphony in memory of the 335 martyrs killed in the caves by the German SS. The 2nd World War was nearing an end. German soldiers still occupied Rome. To suppress resistence German soldiers would daily march through downtown Rome singing. The Italian underground hid a bomb inside a rubbish cart and detonated it killing 32 German soldiers and two civilian bystanders on March 23, 1944. The chief of the German SS in Rome Herbert Kappler and General Kurt Maelzer decided their should be a reprisal. Ten Italians must die for each German killed. During the night they gathered political prisoners already jailed and arrested some Christian and Jews. Then led them out to the catacombs and shot each person with one bullet. To conceal the atrocity, the bodies were bombed.
When the Schumans visited the memorial in 1967 each grave was decorated with Easter flowers. He returned home to Greenwich, Connecticut to write the Symphony No. 9 to honor the martyrs.
Joan and I attended a concert last Friday when it was performed by the Chicago Symphony. The music moods were at first playful then dramatic and frightening followed by quiet and a final outburst of sound. But our chilling feelings and sadness were not the conclusion.
Conductor Ricardo Muti placed Wolfgang Mozart’s, “Requiem in D Minor” and allowed Mozart’s prayer for “the poor people killed in the Ardeatine caves and all people that suffer every day for the cruelty and brutality of dictators in Syria, ISIS, the Taliban “to ring out faith in God and hope as the Chicago Symphony Chorus began quietly singing...
“Eternal rest grant them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on them.
To you will be sung hymns in Zion, O God and a vow made to you in Jerusalem.Hear my prayer, to you all flesh shall come. Grant them, O Lord, eternal rest and let perpetual light shine on them.”
Then words of the Kyrie ...
“Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.”
I thought of the five innocent people who went to work in Aurora only a few days ago and were shot by an unstable person with a gun. How the police from surrounding communities bravely rushed the building, some were wounded, and confronted the shooter. The students and staff for safety in lock down in Aurora schools and prayed,” Lord, have mercy.”
We sit in our pew at church and participate in the worship liturgy and wonder, “Why am I doing this and what difference
does it make?” We sing the ”Kyrie” and “Hymn of Praise”. We offer our prayers and the Lord’s prayer never making the
connection. Our prayer “Lord, have mercy!” implores God in his divine love and kindness to have mercy on us and all people. “Lord have mercy” on the past and present martyrs, victims of another’s rage, children sexually abused by Roman Catholic clergy and athletic trainers and coaches, the homeless and poor, upon all who suffer. We pray “God, remember them” embrace and become one. May God remember and have mercy and let His light shine upon the living and the dead. For all of us must one day stand before You!
“Lord, have mercy!” We pray for the innocents, the children, Moms and Dads, people like you and me just doing our job, kissing our loved ones good by in the morning, the victims of cancer who battle courageously each day taking their taking their treatments, the mothers and children fleeing someone else’s war and seeking refuge in America, friends recovering from surgery.
We are about to begin another Lent/ Easter season. I invite you to step away from your “other” commitments to do something more important. Come and worship God. Sing the liturgy. May our prayers help us to remember and bring before God all servants. Here God conducts vital business. We receive His presence in word and sacrament. We offer prayers asking that God would have mercy on us and every human being, upon every experience of living and dying and being born again in heaven. We see friends who encourage us. May we worship and exit forgiven, alive and praying, “Kyrie, Lord have mercy!” I’ll save you a place.
In his love, Pastor Dave
Note: We have the cure to cabin fever... dig out and come to church!
Beat the Easter rush- come to church this weekend!