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…
Sermon Series: Final Words from the Cross The Scriptures record Jesus speaking 7 phrases as he hung upon the cross- important and powerful final reminders of who he was and what it means to follow him.
Click Here for a blog post with my poem I Thirst, which is referenced throughout this message.
Holy Jesus, our Lord and our God, is thirsty as he hangs on the cross.
This is not an everyday dryness that is easily satisfied by turning a faucet,
This is a deep, deadly thirst few of us have known.
A burning, raging thirst of exposure and dehydration
By this time in His torture, Jesus’ body is a festival of pain
Cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them, and yet he must use them to lift himself to breath
His back, bloody and open down to the bone from the scourging, scrapes against the craggy tree every time he moves
The lacerated veins and crushed tendons of his wrists and ankles throb with incessant anguish
There’s a deep, crushing pain in the depths of his chest (it’s his pericardium slowly filling with fluid). As the heaviness closes in, his heart struggles to pump what little is left of his thick, sluggish blood.
Each variety of misery goes on and on and on, increasing with every moment that passes – hour after hour and he’s nearing hour 6.
How does he choose to describe this?
How does he describe the reality of his pain and passion?
He says– I Thirst
He could have quoted Psalm 22 again, the one that begins, “My God My God why have you forsaken me…” I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws You lay me in the dust of death.
But that is too much.
All his swollen tongue can say is… I thirst
Yes, Jesus is physically thirsty, but it’s more than that. To thirst is also to long for something that is essential.
It’s this thirst, this longing that is consuming him
Is he longing for revenge?
Longing for companionship?
Is he longing to come down from the cross? No
It’s his longing that’s keeping him on the cross, in the place of pain and sacrifice
What are you thirsty for? You ever had a thirst that kept you somewhere painful?
A longing that consumes you?
Stuck in the past because you long for the good old days
Unable to put down roots because you long for a more perfect place
Never enjoying the moment because you’re longing
to finish the project – finish school – finish the treatment – finish looking for true love
To thirst is to long for something that is essential.
Is what you are thirsting for essential?
If you get it, will it satisfy you?
Or like cool water on a hot day will it meet the need only for your to need more soon
Consider Gollum in Lord of the Rings. He stays in the place of pain thirsting, longing for the ring. But it never satisfies.
Our longings can become distorted, even destructive
We can long for things that do not matter do not last
Our longings can steal our time, our attention, our money, our relationships, our life
At their worst, they get twisted into compulsions or even addictions
Jesus says, “I thirst.” But because it’s Jesus we know it is a perfect, holy longing.
(longing can be good, beautiful, and worthy of the place of pain)
What is so essential to Jesus that he’s allowing it to consume him?
He’s longing for righteousness (fancy church word alert)
that crossed-shaped, right relationship with God, others, yourself, your stuff, the earth.
I thirst for you – because you cannot drink the bitter cup I must drink
I thirst for you – because I desire that none should be lost
I thirst for you – so that you may drink of me, the living water
Jesus, the Living Water, flows because he drank the cup and is now being poured out
Only a few hours before, Jesus gathers his closest followers for a meal, he raises a cup and says, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
Only a few hours before, as Jesus was being arrested, Peter drew his sword; but Jesus told him, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Jesus drinks the cup and pours himself out on the cross … I thirst, I thirst for you
Jesus’ thirsting, his essential consuming longing, is for righteousness and that we would drink deeply of it- so that he would become in you, me, and all who believe a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.
Only a short time before, Jesus talks with a man seeking answers in the night Be born again of water and the Spirit
Only a short time before, Jesus talks with an downcast woman at a public well Drink the water I give you and never thirst again
Only a short time before, Jesus cries out in the midst of a festival Let anyone who is thirsty come to me Let the one who believes in me drink Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water
Holy Jesus, our Lord and our God, is thirsty as he hangs on the cross.
Not the everyday dryness that is easily satisfied by turning a faucet,
but the deep, vital thirst all of us may now know because of his saving work
The cleansing, satisfying thirst for righteousness
Take the cup- drink deeply
2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 42:1-2 NIV
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
Matthew 5:6 NIV
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.
Before we get to Easter, we need to linger:
in the vulnerability of the basin and the towel
at the remembrance and promise of the table
in the struggle and betrayal of the garden
in the shadows and shouts of injustice
at the bloody brutal beautiful cross
in the silence of linen and spices and death
Psalm 31:3 NRSV
You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me
John 20:21 NRSV
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
Be sure to check out Bob Goff’s wonderful book, Love Does
This piece was created using PicMonkey, a free, online picture editor. It’s super easy to use and has lots of great fonts, filters and other editing goodies. Someone with limited artistic abilities (like me) can feel very accomplished very quickly. – Lisa <><