Lord Have Mercy {a hillside sermon}

Blessings on the merciful. {Jesus}

There’s nothing more at odds with the ways of this world than mercy — at least, mercy of the wildest sort. We’re a generous people and are usually quick to help those who’ve hit it hard, those wiped clear by disaster or sickness or a long run of bad luck. But when someone has squandered their every dollar or thrown away their life with booze or needles, when someone has walked out on their kids or jilted thousands out of their retirement or simply screwed up a hundred ways to Sunday — well mercy doesn’t sit right then.

But of course, the scandal of mercy is that it flows freely, everywhere and to everyone. Those of us who’ve been broken down and who’ve been forced to abandon any notion that we’ve got the world by the tail whisper the word mercy with a quiet gravity, air for a drowning soul. Once you’ve been lost amid the dark spaces of your own heart, you recognize that there really is no us and them. We’re all drowning, only not all of us know it yet.

But we’ll know it soon enough. And when we do, mercy will be there to catch us.

To be named among the merciful, however, is terrifying. We fear that if we live with wide-open, generous mercy (and don’t count how much mercy we’ve given in return), we won’t get what’s ours, we won’t receive what we need. Someone will surely take advantage (and surely, someone will). However, if God gives us all the mercy we need, we’ll always have enough to give to others. In my kingdom, Jesus says, you don’t have to claw for what you need. Blessed. And you don’t have to maneuver for what you deserve, there’s kindness aplenty. Mercy.

The constant refrain of our Prayers of the People each Sunday is this one line that has come to be the prayer of my soul: Lord, have mercy. Yes, Lord, please. On all of us.

image: spaceshoe

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