A word that is often associated in the Bible with God’s salvation is “mercy.” Writer and poet Calvin Miller once defined mercy as “giving a thumbs up to an old antagonist at the end of your sword.” It is the choice to treat others with grace, forgiveness, compassion and love, no matter who they are and what they have done. Mercy is often spoken of by the biblical writers as one God’s primary attributes, and if it were not for God’s mercy we would have no hope of overcoming the broken and destructive forces within us and around us.
In the Lectionary this week God’s mercy is expressed through Joseph, who forgives his brothers, through Isaiah’s call for all people to receive God’s mercy and treat one another accordingly, through Paul’s declaration that both Jews and Gentiles are recipients of God’s mercy, and through Jesus’ surprising interaction with a Gentile woman. There can be no question that giving mercy to us is high on God’s agenda. But, so is God’s desire that we should become people of mercy who release our need for vengeance and retribution, and who embrace forgiveness and restorative justice.
This week we explore the depths and challenges of God’s mercy.
To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.