Wednesday Word 10.02.2019

Luke 10:29-37 New International Version

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Mercy comes in many forms. There are dramatic instances, like the actions of the Good Samaritan. We call on God to have mercy on us all the time. I am a practitioner of “The Jesus Prayer,” sometimes called “The Desert Prayer” named for the home of the monks who began reciting it in the 5th Century. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” In it we beg for life-giving absolution for our shortcomings and shelter from our fears. We beg for mercy.

In reality, there are millions more that go on around us unseen and uncelebrated by others. I always think of the Steve Hartman segments on the Friday night telecast of the CBS Evening News (I know, I refer to them all the time). Honestly, those small pieces of journalism touch my heart and underscore my faith in humanity. After a week of hearing all about the terrible ways we treat each other and the tragedies that befall us, we need a few uplifting moments. Moments of mercy. These reports bring a situation or an individual to our attention about whom we would never have known otherwise. Those are the acts of mercy I am thinking about today.

Every day you have the ability to perform divine acts of compassion. Mercy isn’t strictly God’s domain. Jesus plainly tells us, “Go and do likewise.” Sometimes, as in Mary Lou’s story last Sunday, God will set the stage and it is up to us to follow through. In other situations, you may be called upon to respond in an instant. What a privilege to act on God’s behalf! Don’t let that moment of mercy slip by. Be the compassionate reflection of the love God has shown you…something to pray about.

Your sister in Christ, Vicki