“Lord have mercy!” — a phrase we often hear or say. Indeed, the phrase is so common, that the shock might have worn off.

But God’s mercy is shocking! The Creator of all that is grants mercy when God could rightfully condemn or punish. God’s mercy is the ultimate gift and show of love to us. When we deserve the worst and are the most unlovable, mercy tells us differently.

Do we realize this gift? And do we know how to respond?

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I will lift you up high, my God, the true king. I will bless your name forever and always. I will bless you every day. I will praise your name forever and always. The Lord is great and so worthy of praise! God’s greatness can’t be grasped. One generation will praise your works to the next one, proclaiming your mighty acts. They will talk all about the glorious splendor of your majesty; I will contemplate your wondrous works. They will speak of the power of your awesome deeds; I will declare your great accomplishments. They will rave in celebration of your abundant goodness; they will shout joyfully about your righteousness: “The Lord is merciful and compassionate, very patient, and full of faithful love.”

Psalm 145:1-8

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A currently popular song’s lyrics include: “please have mercy on me / take it easy on my heart / even though you don’t mean to hurt me / you keep tearing us apart.” Messages like this tell us that mercy is simply the opposite of hurt or punishment, when in reality it’s so much more. It’s a conscious decision to offer compassion, to show care, to provide protection, to keep another from harm.

God’s mercy is a life-altering gift, and praise is the appropriate response. But praise doesn’t come easy for us. Praise is what we give when we recognize the depth of another’s actions – in this case, God’s toward us. Praise means we have to lower ourselves to increase the object receiving it. It requires thought and an intentional response.

“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love,” says the Psalmist. When we think of God’s mercy, may we prostrate ourselves before God in praise.

Katie Barrett Todd

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Spirit of all that lives, breathe in me today so that I may experience the depth of God’s wonderful works. Still me as I ponder Christ’s mercy. Teach me to honor you, to extol you, and to bless your name. Great are you God, and greatly I will praise you. Amen.

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Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.

Pope Francis

Accepting the mercy of God means consciously changing our way of thinking. It requires us to realize that the One who is the Creator has love for all.

Allow yourself to be renewed. Let mercy flow through you into others.

Katie Barrett Todd

Rev. Katie Barrett Todd is the Executive Director & Pastor for UKIRK Greensboro, a PC(USA) ministry to college students in the greater Greensboro area. She holds a M.Div and MACE from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Katie has served churches and campus ministries in South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Nebraska. Mommy to Luke and Lilly, she’s married to Mason, a pastor at a nearby church in the North Carolina piedmont.

Making Space - Fallow Ground

Carter Harrell

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