Kyrie Eleison Christe Eleison Kyrie Eleison
A Kyrie for the old heaven which must pass away,
contoured by Constantine and Calvin,
safety conscious and censorious,
requiring God to disapprove
what churches cannot cope with.
A Kyrie for the old earth
which must pass away:
its land raped,
its sea barren,
its air pregnant with death -
the wages of avarice,
the sour fruit of soulless dominion.
A Kyrie for us
in our disillusionment,
in our disbelief or overbelieving,
in our bondage to novelty,
our tolerance of iniquity,
our apathy to truth,
and all our pettiness.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
for the old heaven and the old earth had passed away.
There will be a new heaven and a new earth,
and an end to oppression and pain;
for the world is upheld by the justice of God
and the Lamb, not the lion, shall reign.
The company of heaven is diverse,
a tartan-coloured regiment of love;
the blind and deaf and mute take centre-stage
and those who once were lame begin the dance;
and silenced people tell tremendous tales,
and grieving folk are keen and free to laugh;
as ramparts of convention are ignored,
the time of understanding is begun.
The company of heaven is not thin,
for Jesus has requested them to dine
and sitting at the centre of the feast
he relishes the stories people tell.
There's food galore for those who never ate,
and finest wine for those who seldom smiled;
and Mary, satisfied the stocks will last,
delights to keep the party in full swing.
The company of heaven is not bored,
for Jesus asks that new songs should be sung
which perfect-pitched archangels first rehearse
and saints of every sort are keen to join:
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus,
Deus omnipotens qui erat, et qui est,
et qui venturus est.
And counterpointing this ecstatic cry
gold harps are plucked and vibrant brass resounds
while children from the streets of every land
propel their ad-libbed praises through the air.
Hosanna to the Son of David.
The company of heaven is fulfilled,
it sees the flaws of earth in new relief
whereby courageous struggle, earnest prayer,
find purpose in the great eternal plan.
There every gross injustice undermined,
each cancelled debt and every hurt forgiven
are prelude to the jubilee of God,
when all that ever was shall be made new.
The company of heaven shall meet here,
for God has willed this earth shall be transformed
until its peace and politics and power
reflect the grace which bought the world to birth.
Then Christ, the sinless victim of our sin,
who loved and liberated us through death,
resolving every mystery and doubt,
shall vindicate God's will and ever reign.
John Bell, Wild Goose, Iona.