Gleanings – Mercy Leading to Love

“Gleanings” is a devotional commentary for those who read the Bible through the Daily Office of the Book of Common Prayer.

1 Epiphany, Wednesday – January 16, 2013

Link to all Daily Office Lessons int he ESV:

Ephesians 2:1-10

“But God, who is rich in mercy out of the great love with which he loved us, . .”

What motivates God? Love. He is love the bibles tell us. We love because he first loved us we are told elsewhere. Unconditional love is the formative principle. This is not love in some academic sense. It is not distant, remote or ethereal. This love draws near. This love includes pathos or passion. It is not sentimental but it is emotional. This love empathizes with the suffering as I did for my son Whit as he wretched last night or my wife Kristen as she cared for him (easy now, someone had to stay with Graham who wasn’t having a great night either).

How is God’s love experienced most? In mercy. We are children of wrath. We deserve punishment. We should count our blessings if it is only the rod we get. But instead the God who is love shows mercy to those who are rightly dead in their trespasses. That would be all of us. This changes me.

In the ordinary course of things we should love and therefore show mercy. I have found though that mercy first sometimes leads me to love. This is the reverse order of things. It is counterintuitive. Mercy leads me to God. He may not be safe (Aslan) but he is reliable. I may experience judgment (rightfully) but mercy will be not far behind. Therefore He is approachable. 24/7 judgment not so much!

Mercifully I pray for those who have wronged me. They need a touch from the God who has touched me. Somehow showing mercy, seeing someone else in need of the same thing that saves me, makes me more loving and that person more loveable. There is no older brother and younger brother, no great distinction between in and out. We are all in need of the same thing. Mercy! This is the odd economy of God.

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