Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mercy Mercy

I lift up my eyes to you,
   to you who sit enthroned in heaven.
2 As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
   as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
   till he shows us his mercy.

 3 Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy on us,
   for we have endured no end of contempt.
4 We have endured no end
   of ridicule from the arrogant,
   of contempt from the proud
. -- Psalm 123 (NIV)
Believing in God has perhaps always been suspect, but it seems to be more that way now.  Perhaps it is the difference between living personal experience and looking through the historical looking glass?  Faith is a sensitive topic.  It (and we) are easily misunderstood.  Science has made objective and provable into a religion of it's own and it's arrogant and prideful tenets are often called on to be used against my pre-modern subjective soul-filled way of knowing.  Others' assumptions immediately pop into place when we express
anything about how we see God working in our lives, to the point that the almost across the board accepted etiquette is to remain as silent as possible about faith.  Embarrassment abounds, except for the most stalwart of proselytizers.   All of this is what came to my mind when I read - "We have endured no end of ridicule.... of contempt..."  While I can feel confident in my heart of hearts about what I know, defending it against double blind placebo studies and yard sticks that measure down to nanometers leaves me shy.  "Have mercy on me," says the Psalmist.  "Look to the Lord until He shows us His mercy."   "Endure to the end..."  Wow.  Really?  Could it take a lifetime of enduring all this before mercy is received and faith is made easier?  Again, wow!

Yet, mercy is worth that waiting.  The heart of mercy is compassion.  This, too, is a radical concept where as Jacob Appel says, American society has become obsessed with justice and retribution.  Looking into the face of one angry for retribution and payback, holding out any hope whatsoever that compassion (or faith) can be mentioned is a fool's errand.  As one sees the length of time it took for mercy to be realized by the very slaves mentioned in this Psalm, enduring is quite a lengthy spiritual chore and discipline. Yet, God is merciful.  He has shown me mercy personally.  I can't measure it.  I can't even completely explain it, but I have felt it.  I know the power of compassion.  Yes, it is a soft thing that can easily get taken advantage of and run over, but I just the same lift my eyes to you, to all those in power-up positions, and God hoping to see the dawning of that warm, Divine mercy light.  Mercy makes life brighter and lighter and easier to accept myself and others, and for that tension release, enduring contempt and retribution and arrogance is worth the wait.  Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy; and bring your Kingdom soon.  Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment