Advent Week Three: Rich in Mercy because of Love

– Rebekah leading Christmas Eve worship 2019

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

Ephesians 2:4-5
writer/teacher Derek Maul

Micah 6:8 (Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly) is typically my “go to” scripture when talking about mercy, so today I looked around for some alternate references where mercy appears with love in the same breath. This led me to Ephesians, and the truly marvelous quote from Chapter Two.

I especially appreciate the phrase, God is so rich in mercy and he loves us so much... This reminder of God’s mercy is timely in this world where religious people love to talk punishment, and retribution, and blame – prone to exclude whole classes of people from God’s love: But God does what it takes when it comes to making the way home possible.

Rich in mercy. Because of love.

The following definition pretty much nails what is going on here. “Mercy: Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

Mercy is only possible when someone is actually holding real power.

Jesus, the vulnerable infant – born into occupation and poverty and oppression – also happens to be the one – The One – holding all the power.

  • So if I were teaching Sunday school this morning I would be all about a conversation around power, and how we see ourselves in relation to all kinds of power structures.
  • I would be asking participants “What does it mean to love mercy?” And “What does it mean to walk humbly with God?”
  • I would be interested in talking about if we are willing to concede that this child, this babe in a cattle stall, this crucified figure on a cross, really does have the kind of authority the Bible suggests?
  • And I am definitely interested in a conversation around the impossible to ignore truth that we all hold a lot of power that we wield via the decisions we make as consumers, and as first world leaders, and we tend to skip the mercy part far too often.

So let’s begin a conversation around Love & Mercy this week. Let’s enter into a conversation about how Advent ushers in exactly what we need, and how Jesus invites us to participate in God’s initiatives of love, mercy, grace, peace, light, hope, joy, and promise.

That is the saving grace of God! – DEREK

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