What would it be like to turn toward Jesus right now and place everything into His healing hands? All you are planning and working for. All you are feeling and longing for. All that weighs heavy upon you – for yourself, those you know, and our weary world.
God is near. God is good. God is strong to save.
Let us pray…
Jesus, my Light, my Savior
Breaker of Chains
Bringer of Grace and Hope
I’ve been carrying this by myself
I hear your call to repentance
The turning will save me
I’ve been trying to make it right in my own strength
I hear your Good News
The trusting will save me
I place every need into your healing hands name your needs
I place every hope into your divine care name your hopes
I’m listening pause in silence
Thank you for receiving it all
In you, I find rest and wholeness
In you, I find life
Now and New and Forever
Blessed be your Name. Amen.
Mercy is not merely feeling sympathy. Mercy is extended by one who has the power to condemn or punish but chooses not to. We choose not to criticize, not to say, “I told you so,” not to exact our “pound of flesh” — not to avenge. As Jesus shows us in his interaction with the woman caught in adultery, mercy does not look back at what the person has done but forward to what the person can do in the future. – Mary Lou Redding. The Power of a Focused Heart: 8 Life Lessons from the Beatitudes
Christ have mercy on me,
I have failed to love as You Love
I have treated others as objects and obstacles
– less than human
– less than made in the image of God
I have elevated goals, persons, and things to the throne of my heart
I have procrastinated
I have wasted your precious gifts of time and talent and money
I am proud in unhealthy ways
I am apathetic
I have raised myself too high
Hid myself too low
Trusting in you and your promises
I call on your Mighty Name for mercy
I ask your forgiveness, Gracious Savior
I surrender to your healing, Great Physician
I claim your resurrection power, Risen One
You are already here
Calling me from the old to the new
Speaking my name
Welcoming me to table
Hallelujah! I will follow…
Based on Matthew 9:9-13, The Call of Matthew
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
Think about how one person has the power to bring goodness, healing, and change
Like little Mack’s burp
Sometimes we think “I don’t have the power of the leader of a company or city or nation.” You have power. Often it’s the little things done with great love which change the world.
Example: Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus because it was an injustice and how it rippled through an entire system of injustice
Examples: Mr. Rogers, Gandi, Dr. Seuss
Think about how one person has the power to bring pain, injustice, oppression, and harm. How one person’s actions can ripple through a family, a school, a community, or even the world.
Yertle is modeled after Hitler
Yertle the Turtle is such a simple story and yet it beautifully contrasts the power of one. The power of one to do good in Mack using his voice, in doing a small thing which ends an injustice. Yertle using his power and twisting it something it was never meant to be.
Power is a good gift of God. It is neither good nor bad. It is a gift. How will you use the gift? Will you use it for good, healing, grace, and hope or will you twist it into something it was never meant to be.
Jesus had a great deal to say about this. We’ll read one the times he spoke about it.
Matthew 23:1-7 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.
Jesus had many encounters with the scribes (lawyers), Pharisees and rabbis (teachers), and priests (clergy)
One way to twist the gift of power is to twist it with hypocrisy. You lay down the rules but you are above them and don’t have to practice them yourself. How frustrating and unjust.
4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.
Power misused brings burdens on others.
5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6 They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.
Practicing faith in order to be seen, to show off
Self-centered, prideful, arrogant
Demanding respect, demanding the place of honor
C.S. Lewis Quote from Mere Christianity As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Jesus is saying there is another way to wield the good gift of power. Look at the way Jesus wielded power himself. Look at the humility of Jesus, the grace, the welcome.
Jesus wielding his power to heal. Jesus wielding his power to give voice to those who have no voice. Wielding his power to be in solidarity with people others had labeled outcast, insignificant, and other.
Jesus wielding his power as a servant, never demanding title or position. Jesus wielding his power to the point of death, the point of blood and torture and sacrifice and generosity and wielding his power to take up his life again in resurrection.
This is the other way to use the good gift of power and influence.
Matthew 23:8-12 Jesus said: 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. 9 And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
Jesus said, “I have not come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
How will you use your gift of power and influence?
Will you let go of your ego? Will you let go of your willfulness and surrender wholly to God’s self-giving passion for the love and salvation of the world?
Will you take up your cross for the oppressed, the outcast, those yet to follow Christ?
Will you carry in your heart and prayers the sorrow of another?
Will you speak truth? Will you stand alongside those the world labels do not count and have no voice?
Will you mentor?
Will you welcome?
Will you use your power and influence for good and for the glory of God?
Little things can make a huge difference if they are done with love and grace. If they are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
An Invitation to Christ by Dimitri of Rostov Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins
kindling my heart with the flame of thy love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there.
For you alone are my King and my Lord.
Growing in Resilience
Day 9, Read Isaiah 48
Reflection: Soften and Save, based on Isaiah 48:4-6
Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass, I declared them to you from long ago, before they came to pass I announced them to you, so that you would not say, “My idol did them, my carved image and my cast image commanded them.” You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it?
Merciful One, soften and save us
We are hardheaded
Merciful One, soften and save us
We are stubborn
Bearing the iron yoke of unhealthy pride and false idols
You alone can liberate us
Turn and return us
Metal to flesh
Ears to hear
Eyes to see
Minds supple in your truth
Lips open, declaring your saving power
A whole body rejoicing in our deliverance