The Economy of Mercy

I am sitting here watching out the window at a familiar sight. It is snowing again. I love snow. I feel like snow makes the world seem new and innocent. Snow makes things difficult, I know, but thinking about the fresh pure white coating things receive before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. It is beautiful. It reminds me of weddings, Christmas, family, and other wonderful things. It is a sad thing that it becomes the dirty black gunk on the side of the road by 10 am.

This time last year i was preparing for the annual ski retreat for the Yellowstone presbytery. I taught about snow. I talked about how snow is like that blank canvas that we can create all things again. I talked about creativity, creating, art, and snow. I asked a question then that is in my mind now. Is this how God felt at the beginning of the world? So full of possibility, so ready to see what God’s creation will make of itself. God looked and saw that it was good after all. I wonder how it felt to create knowing that soon it would be turning to dirty black gunk. Or is that dirty black gunk just a part of the whole beautiful masterpiece God is creating still? In my own humble opinion I do believe God never stopped creating, but that is a different post for a different day.

As I am thinking of snow, I am reminded of all that has been going on in the world this week, month, and year. I often feel down about the state of the world. I often feel very upset by the mistreatment of others. I feel often that the world has succumb to greed, injustice, fear, and hate. I feel like thinks may get worse before they get better. I am reminded often of the prophets in the Old Testament of the Bible, who often warned those in authority about the path that greed, injustice, fear, and hate take them down. They warned of destruction and pain. They often said that God was calling out to them to come back. I wonder is God calling now? Are we headed down that same path that the rulers, kings, and judges of old trod down so long ago? Are we becoming like the dirty black gunk on the side of the road, or are we receiving the new white coating?

I was saddened by what happened Arizona this weekend. This was the reason why I felt like i needed to write. I feel like we are being pushed into hate and fear. I feel like every day we are  becoming more scared, angry, and violent people.   I don’t put the blame on anybody except the man who pulled the gun this weekend. Unstable people will just feed off the hate and fear that is already out there no matter where it comes from. No, I am not saying that we should blame anyone in particular for what was done. What I am saying is that i feel like it’s time we stop treating other human beings with fear and hate. We are all human beings. We are all the same species. Life is precious and we should treat it as such.

Hate, anger, and violence seems to be the answer to everything these days. I know that is the natural reaction to things as well. I am guilty of it as well. I know that i tend to get very angry and to hate people for treating others with hatred, angry, and violence. Jesus once presented an idea that was so counter-natural that it made people hate Him. He told us to love. Love those who hurt you. Love those who persecute you. Love your enemies. I wish that we could do that in all areas of our lives. What would that look like? I would love it if the politicians who make such a point of presenting themselves as “Christian” actually started acting like it. Wouldn’t it be awesome if political ads were all of a sudden positive. “Well I want to make sure that we feed the hungry, my friend would like to create a better justice system. Vote for whichever you thing we should focus on at the moment.” Wouldn’t that be incredible? What if we stopped forcing people to do things by using emotions? What if we stared just being truthful and honest? News reports may be more grim, but I think it would lead to much less stress and pressure on society. There is enough to worry about in life!

Jesus told us to not only show mercy and grace, but to go the extra mile. The band Switchfoot a few years ago had a song called “The Economy of Mercy”. In the chorus the song states:

In the economy of mercy
I am a poor and begging man
In the currency of Grace
Is where my song begins
In the colors of Your goodness
In the scars that mark your skin
In the currency of Grace
Is where my song begins

I was thinking about that today. What if the way we won disagreements, wars, and other such struggles was through an economy of mercy? Yes, compromise would be best, but sometimes you just can’t meet halfway. Sometimes there needs to be someone who gets their way. What if it was the person who was more merciful, and graceful? I don’t think that would ever work since it requires a divine element which we seem to lack. The song goes on to say:

These carbon shells
These fragile dusty frames
House canvases of souls
We are bruised and broken masterpieces
But we did not paint ourselves
And where will I find You?

I like to remember that it is stated that “God is love”. Really we have come a long way away from God. We are broken fragile dusty carbon frames for weak and helpless souls. I think these souls need contact with mercy, grace, and love to survive. I think we need that to recharge and fill our souls. What I find most interesting is that it is just waiting there for us to plug into, but we choose to ignore it. We feel more comfortable as broken beings than full completed ones. Why is that? Why can’t we love each other? Why is it so hard to love our enemies? Why is it so hard to love those who persecute us? Why must we vilify them, instead of befriending them?

I look at the snow and i think that we always have a second chance. The snow always reminds me that there is another chance to create. A new place for us to create every day. It is up to us whether we create something beautiful or something dirty and black. It is up to us whether we fill our worlds with love or hate. It is up to you to decide to love or hate. You decide what to fear and what to accept. Don’t let anyone else sway that. Make up your own mind. As for me I choose love. I choose to create beauty. I know I don’t always succeed. I know I fail a lot and end up creating dirty black pieces sometimes.The most wonderful thing is that God still uses those dirty black pieces to create a wonderful masterpiece.

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