O GOD OF MERCY, GOD OF LIGHT
MERCY. A curious word with many meanings. In some youth sports, the mercy rule is put into play to prevent a team from running up the score and causing embarrassment to the other team. Mercy is used to describe lenient or compassionate treatment as in: beg for mercy. We are familiar with the phrase, Lord, have mercy, as sung in the Kyrie, asking for divine favor. Here’s another meaning – compassionate treatment of those in distress. The sermons during Easter-tide will be based on “Mercy: Being the Gift.”
In the hymn, O God of Mercy, God of Light, (Lutheran Book of Worship 425), we sing of God being one of “mercy.” Indeed He has treated us with His divine favor and compassion. He has given us the gift of faith through our baptism. Thanks be to God! How then, do we respond to His goodness? How can we be “the Gift?” Let’s look more closely at the words of the hymn for guidance.
O God of mercy, God of light, In love and mercy infinite, Teach us, as ever in your sight, to live our lives in you.
You sent your Son to die for all, that our lost world might hear your call; Oh, hear us lest we stray and fall! We rest our hope in you.
Teach us the lesson Jesus taught: To feel for those his blood has bought, That ev’ry deed and word and thought may work a work for you.
For all are kindred, far and wide, since Jesus Christ for all has died; Grant us the will, and grace provide to love them all in you.
In sickness, sorrow, want, or care, each other’s burdens help us share; May we, where help is needed, there give help as though to you.
And may your Holy Spirit move all those who live to live in love, Till you receive in heav’n above those who have lived to you.
A re-reading of the Parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37, gives us an example of how we can be “the Gift.” The hymn expands that text by directing us to help us share “each other’s burdens.” We don’t act alone, however. The Holy Spirit moves us to assist those in “sickness, sorrow, want, or care.”
Called by worship to Your service, forth in Your dear name we go, To the child, the youth, the aged, Love in living deeds to show; Hope and health, goodwill and comfort, counsel, aid, and peace we give, That Your servants, Lord, in freedom may Your mercy know and live.
[Lutheran Service Book 848, stanza 4]
What a heavenly calling!
Joy in Jesus,
Kantor Irene Beethe