Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Bag Full of Mercy, Grace, and Love

Quoting Pastor Matt Harrison on the June 30th Issues, Etc. segment on mercy:

God is mercy. He is compassion. He is eternal love, and in Jesus Christ that mercy and compassion is planted in our hearts. We’re forgiven, we cannot help but forgive. We’ve been loved, we cannot help but love. Luther says, “When you go to church, you come with an empty sack, and in the confession and absolution, you confess ‘Dear God, I’ve got an empty sack,' and God piles it full with forgiveness, and He gives more forgiveness and grace and mercy in the lessons, and then the sermon preaches you full of forgiveness and grace and forgives you, fills your bag up. You go to the Lord’s Supper - ‘take and eat for the forgiveness’ of your sins. Your bag is even heaped fuller, and then at the end of the service, ‘The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you His peace.' Your bag is packed full overflowing. You tie it up and you say ‘Amen, Amen, Amen, it’s in the bag.’ And you leave church, and then you meet somebody who sins against you or needs something, or your children, you can’t help but open the bag and say ‘Here. I’ve got a bag full of mercy and grace and love. I can’t help but give it to you - it’s who I am. That’s what God has created me to do. I’ve been given this rich treasure,’ and you come back to church the next week and you pray, you say in the confession, ‘Dear God, I got an empty sack.’”

Pastor Harrison is Executive Director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care, and author of the book Christ Have Mercy: How to Put Your Faith in Action, and the soon to be released At Home in the House of My Fathers. His personal blog is titled “Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison.”

No comments: