This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon Ephesians 2:1-10:
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:1–10, NIV)
“I’m not good enough!” No matter the attempt, how great the performance, there remains a deep need for validation, to be recognized, accepted. Within this passage, the phrase, “God, who is rich in mercy”, strikes me with great poignancy.
I wonder about the effect of mercy. On those occasions when I am shown mercy, do I become more magnanimous toward others? Do I come to understand on some deeper level, or at least learn how to return similar actions and how these kinds of exchanges might benefit and strengthen a relationship?
I wonder about the purpose of mercy. What role does it play in our personal lives, how should it be utilized? Can mercy be shown to entire communities? Why should that be expressed?
I wonder about the nature of mercy. What are the details surrounding the expression of a specific merciful action? What does it feel like to show mercy to someone else? Does the quality of mercy have a language? What are the words that are used and how are they spoken?
Questions that shine a light on the facets of mercy can flesh out (humanize) its meaning from within the life of someone who is living, breathing, and speak with an eternal quality, reflective of the example we have in Jesus Christ.
Rev. Richard Wagner