“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Sunday, February 18, 2007

...and to love mercy

In Micah 6:8, the famous passage talks about loving mercy. I have been thinking a lot about this passage lately. What might it mean to love mercy? I suppose I could love the concept of mercy, not giving someone something they might deserve, or forgiveness. But I am tempted to think about loving the acting out of mercy. I love that God is merciful, and I love that people are merciful to other people, sometimes.
Why would I love mercy?
If I have experienced mercy, I will love mercy.
If I want others to know about God and receive His mercy, I will love
If I want to be shown mercy, I will love mercy.
If I accept God's mercy and give myself to Him, I will love mercy.
If I understand mercy, I will love mercy.
If I understand worship, I will not only love mercy, I will do mercy.
If I understand worship, I will do mercy.

Mercy implies an object, a person to whom mercy is shown. Jesus on several occasions, makes the statement "But go and learn what this means...I desire mercy not sacrifice" (Matthew 9:13). You might think that He had said just the opposite when you look at how churches do worship. We talk about the "sacrifice of praise." Oh, please. I think it may be more of a sacrifice on God's part to listen to it, than it is a sacrifice to give it. I suspect our singing voices will be much better in Heaven. We focus on sacrifice. God focuses on mercy. We raise our hands in praise (which is fine to do). He wants us to do that but to also look around for someone to whom we might show some mercy. You see, we show our love to God by what we do for other people. James 1:27 says that true worship is to look after widows and orphans. As I have been the recipient of mercy, I offer myself to God "as those who have been brought back from death to life" (Romans 6:13). God's greatest gift to me is mercy. Perhaps my greatest gift to God is mercy as well. Obviously, I cannot really show mercy to God, but I can show mercy to people, the ones to whom He gives mercy, his greatest gift. In the most positive of ways, I become like God, when I show mercy to other people.
When it comes to worship, what does God need from me? Sure in heaven, we will worship in various ways, but we will worship in a different form. You see there aren't any poor or disabled or disenfranchised people in heaven. There will be those who were poor or disabled or disenfranchised while they lived a human life on earth. Perhaps they will have a memory of their poverty or disability or disenfranchisement while they lived out their human life. But there will be no one who is poor or disabled or disenfranchised any more in heaven. Our worship there, will therefore no longer need to have the mercy component it must have here on earth. I can sing songs to God for eternity when I get to heaven. While on Earth, I need to take care of widows and orphans. I need to show mercy to people as an act of worship while I am here on Earth. My worship should be significantly different as an Earthling.
This has been a revelation to me. I have commented elsewhere in this blog that I am confused by worship. I have been confused by church, music based, sermon based worship. But when my son goes out of his way to take a man with disabilities out to lunch, by making the man's day, by filling his stomach with great tasting good food that he would not otherwise be able to affort, I am not confused about the worshipful nature of that act. It is an act of worship, as God desires mercy.

I have shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee...to love mercy.



Impossibleape said...

beautiful thoughts, beautifully expressed

yet they are words of challenge and rebuke

I hope many many people will be able to hear these words

Do think that some of the commentaries you have shared with us over the past couple of years will ever be compiled into a devotional format?

To turn believers from their selfish ways and to inspire Christians to love mercy and to do justice would be a task worthy of a Prophetic voice

Jeff McNair said...

A devotional sounds great, IA. Do you know any publishers? I have been looking for a publisher for more of a chapter type book revolving around many of the ideas in the blog. Kathi has told me I should try to package something in a way that more reflects the individual entries as listed in a blog. I would be very interested in a devotional type of format if the opportunity arose.