Mercy: Stop for Human Beings

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Blessed are the merciful.
BUT… I don’t feel very merciful. I want to engage in some self-righteous holy kick-butt.
And that runs opposite to the call to be merciful.

For they shall obtain mercy…
Wait. Wait. WAIT A MINUTE! But what if they don’t deserve it?

I’m pretty sure Jesus did not say anything about “deserving” mercy. Quite the contrary.
I know, I know. But really? This person is… an idiot. A prejudiced asshat. A judgmental and mean-spirited person.

And by saying this… you are…
Ack. Great. Yeah… you’re right…


 

This is how my mind runs, anyway, as I deal with a situation that seems so UNFAIR. Even… (dare I say it??) Unbiblical.

My blood pressure goes up. My heart rate increases. I get that lovely feeling in my gut like I’ve tried to digest nails.

And in this moment, you have just witnessed what every preacher, pastoral counselor and chaplain face every time they think about offering good advice or a needed critique. Every time they honestly want to speak truth… but hear “hypocrite!” echoing in the back of their minds.

How can I possibly be this angry and hot under the collar? I am so unworthy of the grace of God! How can I preach justice and love kindness and walk humbly… when I’m so caught up in who I am and what I want?

Perhaps mercy demands acceptance that I carry this with loose hands, with an acceptance that this is not my situation to solve. There is no way to make amends. And there is no way that I can force a resolution, a reconciliation. I must accept that this is a God-sized task.

It is a moment to STOP for other human beings and allow God to work. (Hence, the photo at the top of this post.) Maybe it was googly-eye stuck on the sign, but I realized, as it caught my attention, that far too often I will walk right by (or OVER) a situation that demands… MERCY.

In the Latin confession, there is a prayer that is sung or chanted as congregants prepare for Holy Communion.

Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

The root of eleison is translated oleos or mercy in the Greek New Testament. And even more striking is the connection to the Hebrew word, hesed. Translated as “love” or “lovingkindness”, hesed represents the convenient, ever-faithful love of God. In fact, it is so much a part or Essence of the BEING of God that it can’t be distinguished from the Presence of God. And even more importantly, hesed is how one demonstrates one’s  connection to God, living it out in the world. Giving to those who can’t give back. Not responding in kind with an angry,  cruel, or unnecessary rebuttal.

So when I internalize all this… it comes back to my sense of personal injustice and entitlement. For I expect, no, demand my rights. And I am asking for far more than I deserve, not considering the wants or needs of others.

The question is this: Can I release this moment or action to God’s Hands? Can I gently, carefully extricate myself from the burst of self-righteous, frustrated anger?

Blessed are the merciful… for they shall obtain mercy.

That’s something I know I need. And want to give back.

Watch out for human beings. Show Mercy.

 

Merciful

Photo Credit: “Blessed are the merciful_0894”, © 2007
James Emery, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

 

 

For Pentecost – A prayer: “Make my heart like Yours”

I had an entirely different meditation written for Pentecost Sunday and didn’t have time to post it before church this morning… and then I came across this and decided it was the fullest expression of the indwelling Spirit I could think of… It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit would so wrap me in Her wisdom, gifting and power that my heart would be as Christ’s…

So I offer this for reflection and worship.

From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the desire of being honoured, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the desire of being preferred, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the desire of comfort and ease, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the fear of being criticized, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the fear of being passed over, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the fear of being lonely, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the fear of being hurt, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

From the fear of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, strengthen me with your Spirit.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, teach me your ways.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
help me put my self importance aside
to learn the kind of cooperation with others
that makes possible the presence of your Abba’s household.
Lord, have mercy on me, make my heart like yours.

original credits from the prayer book, For Jesuits, 1963, Loyola University