Advent Day 10: Mercy and The Blameless Life

Ryan Stuart and his wife Jenny are a part of our Launch Team. Ryan is Jenny’s husband, dad to three fabulous little ones, band director of the A-Town A-List, and a Worship Leader. We are looking forward to having him as a regular face teaching at Parish Gatherings.  

image-17Admittedly, the first words of the very first reading today catch me much by surprise. Psalm 26:1 reads, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have led a blameless life!”; and later, “I wash my hands in innocence and go about your altar, O Lord.” Wow, now that’s an interesting approach. This entire Psalm is an appeal for rescue based on the deservedness of the Psalmist’s own “blameless” record. Who says stuff like this to God?! Well, this is David. And what’s even more curious is that in Psalm 28 (another reading for today) we see David pronouncing judgment upon the wicked man, who “flatters himself too much to detect his own sin.” Fascinating.

While David may not be seeing his situation with the greatest of clarity here, he is consistent in one thing. In all of the Psalms we read today, David cries out in desperation, “Lord save me!” And this total picture is one that I can identify with. Like David, I’m not great at knowing the condition of my own heart, but I can’t help but know my desperate need for mercy. Perhaps this is true for all of us.

The realization of our need for mercy is expressed in the Collect prayers this week, and is a beautiful thought in anticipating the arrival of Jesus, God’s mercy to us. The need for mercy is also another good example of the tension between the “already” and the “not yet.” In the greatest sense, we are not in need of more mercy. All the mercy we could ever need has been provided thru the giving and sacrifice of Jesus. It’s ours completely. That’s the “already.” But still we are broken and hurting people, full of contradiction and self-defeat, avoiding what we need most (as seen in Amos 7) and merely visiting the mercy of God as we feel necessary. Someday, we will be whole, and the experience of mercy will be our constant reality. We are growing in that direction.

As we pray and meditate today, what is one area of your life that is desperate for the mercy of God? Let his mercy in. It’s already yours, given in fullness. And let the awareness of your need provoke thanks to God for his great gift of mercy, Jesus.

2 thoughts on “Advent Day 10: Mercy and The Blameless Life

  1. Donna Kirkland says:

    I was taken aback by the same thing, yet you are right about the fact that many times we don’t really see the condition of our own hearts. Therefore, today’s scriptures remind us of our desperate need for God’s mercy. Thank you for your writings.

  2. Emily Lorin says:

    Ryan…I love the way you stated, “[God’s] great gift of mercy, Jesus.” What a powerful note to end on and, yes, (as was mentioned yesterday) one we can so easily take for granted. As I meditate of your words, “a gift of mercy,” I am astounded. I was just reminded of, in Esther, when God delivers the Israelites from total obliteration in the month of Abar. God has been saving, redeeming, and giving gifts of mercy for all of history! (And yet we still lose focus…)

    It can be easy to have mixed emotions around this season–hurry, peace, reminders of being broke and being blessed, giving, and receiving gifts in every sense possible; loneliness, and the surrounding of family. Thank you, and The Parish team as a whole, for this reminder of the incredible, magnificent, overwhelming, beautiful, and undeserved one focal point we can all have this season: Mercy. Truly Jesus, Redeemer, Savior, is the ultimate gift during this season and everyday. And what is even more amazing is that it’s one we received and are blessed with daily–time and time again. Wow.

    …so blessed by this advent community. Thanks.

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