Our concept of mercy changes
As our image of God changes.
First, there are the gods who
Remain aloof, separate from us, who reward
And punish us whimsically in storm, in drought,
In famine, in plenty. We never know, we can only
Hope to win their favor, that they show mercy
Then there is the God who reaches out to us,
God’s chosen. If we the chosen follow the Law,
Offer placating sacrifice, extend mercy to others,
Mercy will be given to us. If we fail in any of these
Requirements, favor will be withheld. In its place
We will be punished. We plead for forgiveness,
for mercy as restoration of relationship.
Then there are those who experience a much larger God.
A God who is merciful to God’s chosen even when
They fail to live up to what is expected.
When the chosen deserve punishment and expect it,
God responds by embracing them, taking them back
Time and again.
And then an even much larger God is experienced as extending
Mercy to everyone in this same way, moving out beyond
The chosen in an all-inclusive embrace. And this mercy
Is once again freely given, even when the whole world
Is deserving of punishment and expects it.
Then there is the God who lives among us
As one of us. Whose very Presence in our midst
Bespeaks mercy. We see in the eyes of God a mirror
Which reflects back to us only love. And we call such mercy
God’s loving compassion. We experience a constant
Flow of unearned forgiveness. We realize that God doesn’t
Even judge us.
And then the mystics experience that God’s ground
Is our ground, and our ground is God’s ground.
And that is true for all of Creation which is the incarnation
Of the Word of God, the Christ, and that there never was
any separation between God and the Christ and never can be.
We have only to awake to our reality in God.
We are as Meister Eckhart says, The generosity of God.
And this is true whether we acknowledge it or not.
When we awake to this Reality, we can in truth lay claim
To what has always been True. In this sense grace,
God’s life freely given, replaces any need for mercy.
God is Graceful to all, even before time existed.